When I think of alternative Australian bands I think of the psychedelic likes of Tame Impala, Pond, their various side projects and bands like Jagwar Ma. Whilst they have a beach sound, its a different one and since making a name for themselves, it’s clear that Aussie trio, DMA’s couldn’t be farther from their peers. In the past year, the Brit-pop revival seems to have developed and with their blend of 90s indie-pop and American skater rock, it’s easy to see why Brit names such as NME and BBC Radio 1 are backing them. Taking to Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds for their debut appearance in the city, it’s not hard to understand why they’ve been welcomed with open arms.
Opening for the band were local five piece April [rating: 2.5]. A band that appeared mismatched in appearance; with members ranging from grunge, to skater, to androgynous fashions. However, despite their diverse looks, there wasn’t any hint of inharmony in their sound. They had an eclectic sound with an air of indie-pop, mashed with a dreamscape rock. Whilst the band seemed enthused, the same couldn’t be said for the crowd, who, small in size anyway, huddled towards the back bar. All but one man, (who was clearly under the influence of something,) didn’t seem to move or make an attempt to engage with the band, a shame for the quintet who seemed impressive given their DIY nature and the lack of crowd response.
After a long break between the two bands, the venue had progressively become more filled. A sense of lad culture had filled the room, as the crowd was predominantly built up by groups of men all past the age of 25. Passing through the crowd and up onto the stage the band quietly positioned themselves facing the crowd, all tracksuits and caps, it’s was hard to believe that they aren’t British. With little communication between both members and fans, DMA’s [rating: 3.5] began.
Their set progressed with little interaction between both band and crowd, but whilst the audience at first seemed distant, as the band relaxed it was as if the crowd opened up too. As the sense of awkwardness between both began to mellow, it wasn’t long until many surprisingly big sing-along moments unfolded.
The melodic ‘Laced’ was one of these moments as it saw the crowd yelling back to the band ‘you know you want it, know you’re gonna let me out’ and vocalist Tommy O’Dell croon ‘it’s in my heart, it’s in my head for you’, over the layers of sparkling distorted guitars. ‘Feels Like 37’ exhibited a more vigorous side to the band’s performance and saw a small swarm of men jumping around together.
Vocalist O’Dell looked lost throughout the majority of the set, some could say almost bored. However, despite him not appearing as the most exciting or engaging of front men, his vocals and the passion of his lyrics was delivered with concise precision. In fact, the whole sound of the band, whilst sounding rough and raw, was well executed. Something to be noted about DMA’s is that there sound is clearly as equally untampered on record as it is live. There a band that obviously don’t mess around with their sound when recording, giving it a humble sound on record and an easily transferrable sound to a live setting.
The biggest highlights of the set came from new track ‘Lay Down’, ‘So You Know’ and ’Delete.’ The former’s jangly pop-guitars gave it a more energetic level than most of the tracks in the set, even if O’Dell’s vocal maintained a chilled sense, with that added ragged edge. Both of the latter two tracks provided the woozy, swaying element of the set, being equally as emotional, with ’SYK’ seeing O’Dell strain ‘can’t keep up with losing out, now I know what life’s about.’ But really, it was ‘Delete’ that to know one’s shock stood out from the whole show. It was a moment that saw all the bromance’s within the crowd stand out, with hands reached in the air and other arms wrapped around friends. At points it was almost hard to hear the band as fans cried ‘don’t defeat my baby, don’t delete her still,’ and it became an honest, goosebumps moment as the gentle guitar plucks led into its build.
Whilst they aren’t the biggest or boldest of bands, it was easy to recognise that they captivated the intimate venue and it was was fair to say that DMA’s fans left the venue more than elated, an outcome I would not have guessed at the beginning of the night.