Photography by Josh Groom @JoshGroom
When describing DMA’s sound, the word ‘Britpop’ gets tossed around like a beach ball at a Nickelback concert – enthusiastically, but confusingly (how’d I end up at a Nickelback concert?). For starters, DMA’s aren’t from England, they’re from Sydney’s alternative sanctuary of Newtown. Yet their debut album, Hills End would be a fitting soundtrack for a soggy stroll through Manchester or while you boil the kettle for your eighth cup of tea.
As I run out of English clichés, the three piece (turn six piece for shows) are most likely resting up after finishing off their album launch national tour last night at The Corner in Melbourne. We were lucky enough to nab a spot to their second Sydney appearance at The Metro to dissect the live sound and decide whether Australia trump Britain in their own genre.
Kicking off the set was ‘Timeless’, suitably the same track that kicks off the album. Take nothing away from the music, but it was the light show that first caught my attention. I think I was expecting a more chilled night, but the beaming lights (that were matched only by the rowdy mosh) established a much heavier vibe than I’m sure a lot of people were expecting. Roars from the crowd drowned out the tracks’ fadeout and the energy only went up from there.
The heaviest track of the night, ‘Too Soon’ followed and mayhem ensued. When crowd-surfing has kicked in by just the second track, you know it’s an anticipated show. Going back to our ‘Britpop’ thesis, the Newtown locals were resembling the heavier Blur sound, oppose to any dreamy Oasis vibes you may get from their more sway-along tracks. A sing-along belted chorus only amped up an already pumped out crowd, much to the delight of the soft-spoken front three who bowed and thanked their home crowd.
It wasn’t long after we were hit with monster tune, ‘Lay Down’. The foot-tapper turned head-bopper turned mosh-trigger sparked a frenzy that gave me flashbacks to their Laneway performance earlier in the year. Frontman Tommy O’Dell has noticeably mastered the vocals and can switch up the range when need be. As mentioned it’s been an anticipated tour, with the album coming a lot later than expected. Tracks like ‘Lay Down’ have been receiving air time as well as been perfected on stage for up to three years.
Only two tracks later DMA’s turned to what has become their anthem, ‘Delete’. Another older track, yet has got a second wind through a Sticky Fingers cover. The Metro didn’t seem big enough to contain the thunder of applause that came with the striking intro. As far as choruses go, ‘Delete’ has one that latches on and evokes a response like I’ve yet to see. If O’Dell were to forget a lyric it wouldn’t have mattered too much. It was an all in sing-along that had the band delaying the next track as the crowd were still busy showing their appreciation.
In only ten days the DMA’s boys will be back at it with a European tour that starts in Neuhausen, Germany. With shows in the UK to follow, the Britpop poster boys will be showing off the sound that surely now has come to be their own. If there’s anything England are going to try and claim as their own in the coming years, I’m guessing it’ll be these fellas.
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