It’s hard to remember that DMA’s are an Australian band. With their britpop sound and relentless touring of the UK, you’d be forgiven if you thought they were British.
Tonight three piece DMA’s return to Leeds University Union, for a fact they haven’t been away from the university long – playing in the room next door only a few months ago at Live at Leeds! They don’t need to return to education though, as tonight DMA’s really are top of the class.
DMA’s (with three additional touring musicians) emerge onto the stage brandishing retro brands and baseball caps – with the 90s nostalgia rushing back to the few in the crowd old enough to have lived through the decade. Opener “Play it Out”, the end song of their critically acclaimed LP Hills End, immediately injects energy into the Yorkshire crowd, a theme for the rest of the night.
To those who suggest that DMA’s are similar to 90’s britpop aren’t wrong tonight. Frontman Tommy O’Dell sounds like a 90’s Liam Gallagher before all the cigarettes and alcohol had kicked in. He stands as an icon behind the microphone, with a real Gallagher-esque swagger about him as DMA’s go through “Timeless”, “In The Moment” and crowd favourite “Too Soon” barely breaking a sweat.
If there’s any downside tonight it’s the crowd. Not their lack of energy, the crowd jump around like the floor is lava, and to stand still would ignite seething pain. The issue for me is the “Yorkshire” chant. For those of you unfamiliar, the chant features a large group of people chanting “YORK…SHIRE, YORK…SHIRE, YORK…SHIRE” repeatedly. To say it is tiresome in an understatement. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from Yorkshire, or maybe I’m grumpy, or maybe both – it just disrupts the entire flow of the gig if the band has to wait eternally after each song before being allowed to play the next.
Anyway back to the music, “Delete” is a particular highlight. The song is the centrepiece for DMA’s, it’s the hands in the air/ arms round your friends moment of the night. I’ve been to a few DMA’s gigs now, and what always astonishes and astounds me is this ballad’s ability to resonate with so many people. O’Dell’s yelps “Don’t delete my baby, don’t defeat her now”, and the whole room screams every word back.
A triumphant gig for DMA’s and they know it. In fact O’Dell walks off stage well before the end of final song “Lay Down”. Rather than jump about with the rest of the band as the final instrumental kicks in, O’Dell simply wanders off. It’s only speculation, but he’s probably gone to lay down – he deserves it anyway, as the papers will read ‘triumph for DMA’s on their return to Leeds.’