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Don Broco, Papa Roach and Dance Gavin Dance Party Hard at Leeds First Direct Arena [Photos]

Friday night in Leeds and the First Direct Arena rocks out as Don Broco, Papa Roach, and Dance Gavin Dance bring the party to town.



Don Broco at Leeds FD Arena by Graham Finney Photography

It’s Friday night in Leeds, the end of another long week and we’re at the First Direct Arena where Dance Gavin Dance, Papa Roach and Don Broco are ready to help Leeds kickstart the weekend in style.

First up was Californian post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance who, even without the luxury of a full stage and an arena-style lighting rig, illuminated the huge room with their energetic seven-track set. Unleashing a dual-vocal assault on the bouncing dancefloor, both Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson, along with their bandmates, lit a fuse under this Friday night party.

Judging how packed the room was five or so minutes before Cali nu-metal superstars Papa Roach hit the stage, it’s obvious that Jacoby Shaddix-led outfit, not taking anything away from the headliners, was a big draw on this run of dates. The frontman wasn’t going to let the energy levels drop either, in fact, during one lull, he berates the crowd for their muted response by howling “I didn’t fly across the fuckin’ world to miss my boy’s birthday back home for that bullshit!”

As for the band, 2023 marks their thirtieth year as a band, and, as is the case every time P-Roach is in town, the rockers bring their A-Game. Banging through rock anthem after rock anthem, from “Getting Away With Murder” to “No Apologies,” this is a set full of angsty nu-rock. Their blast through of Prodigy hit “Firestarter” has the room bouncing while an emotional “Scars” sees the room lit up with thousands of mobile phone lights. Bringing the set to a close with “Last Resort” and the anthemic line “cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort…” ringing around the arena, Papa Roach heads off having set the bar high for the headliners.

Now, one thing you can’t call the headliners is shy. Having watched the band throughout the years, from support slots to festival headliners, the Bedford alt-rock crew proved that they’re more than ready for their own arena tour. Leading the circus is frontman Rob Damiani who struts out of the wings in a full-length coat, waving a smoke bomb around as the band bounce into opener “Bruce Willis.” If you were here purely to see the support band with little interest in the headliners, Damiani would rectify that, making sure that Don Broco had your attention within seconds.

A band that has always known how to put on a party, Don Broco now has the stage to put on one hell of a performance. It’s the show they have always had inside them, and through the likes of “Come Out to LA” and “Technology,” the First Direct Arena was in the mood for fun with the Bedford rockers. Joined by Jacoby Shaddix for “Manchester Super Reds” and “Thug Workout,” the energy levels from the stage lifted the roof off the arena, aided by stage-to-ceiling video screens and a blistering light show.

An inevitable and raucous rendition of “T-Shirt Song” brought Don Broco’s biggest headline show in Leeds (not including Slam Dunk) to a thunderous finale with any preconceptions that the lads from Bedford were going to be playing second fiddle to their support left in a big sweaty mess on the dancefloor as nearly eleven thousand people bounced their way through this Friday evening.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.