Liam Gallagher was recently photographed enjoying the company of the young DMA’s. The former frontman of Oasis rarely shows enthusiasm for any type of music apart from his own and The Beatles; only recently he told the NME: “These [modern guitar bands] are just getting away with murder: you can’t tell a guitar band from a pop band these days. No one’s cranking it up and having a bit of aggro.” The fact that Liam had no problem displaying his support for DMA’s particularly signifies the impact this up and coming Australian trio continue to make on the British rock scene.
Despite coming from down under, if you weren’t familiar with their nationality you’d assume they were natives of Manchester, like Oasis. They carry themselves in vintage casualwear, caps, bucket hats and lead singer Tommy fronts the band on stage with a certain Manc confidence, echoing Ian Brown as well as Liam Gallagher. Many critics have labelled DMA’s as ‘Britpop revivalists’ but to tag them simply as a throwback would be doing them a disservice. Their chilled-out, catchy, flowing guitar sound echoes the Britpop era but “interesting melodies and meaningful lyrics”, as the band put it, is what puts their songs up with the highest level of contemporary indie rock. The band plays songs that relate to people, with lyrics that capture everyday life and the emotions that come with falling in and out of love. All of this is delivered in the youthful and vibrant swagger of Tommy, who sings each word with meaning and passion, and often whilst chewing gum.
After hearing their EP followed by their debut album Hills End, I was very excited to see them on the festival republic stage at Leeds festival last year, where they played a short set to a small but eager crowd. This time, however, I wondered if they could captivate an audience with the same energy over a longer duration for their own sell-out gig in Liverpool. The fact it had sold-out should have been a giveaway, indicating how they had gone from strength to strength since I had last watched them a year ago. But my expectations were exceeded after the lights came on and the band surged into their first song of the night ‘Play It Out’. It was evident band had now established a loyal and raucous UK fan-base. Hands reached in the air and pints launched across the crowd as everyone belted out the lyrics to each song. Lead singer Tommy particularly fed off the crowd’s energy, intermittently darting around the stage, shaking his tambourine in complete ecstasy before grabbing the microphone with both hands and singing his heart out. This is how the gig is all night.
Mates climb on each other’s shoulders and the frenzy keeps going as the band crusade into the powerful choruses of fan favourites ‘Laced’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Feels Like 37’ and the final song ‘Lay Down’. But the band also switch to emotional and heartfelt acoustic ballads with the likes of ‘Step Up The Morphine’, ‘So We Know’ and ‘Delete’ amongst the chaos. The euphoric atmosphere arising from these songs is largely thanks again to Tommy’s pure vocalisation. One surprising omission from the setlist is their cover of ‘Believe’. The band performed an acoustic reimagining of the Cher hit for Triple J’s Like A Version last October and it went on to become a minor internet sensation. As their version of ‘Believe’, which they eventually released as a single, scored the most online views of any DMA’s song by some distance, you’d think it would be difficult to ignore the demand for the rendition at live gigs. It’s also likely that the band earned many new fans who were introduced to their music from ‘Believe’ alone. But you have to give credit to DMA’s for keeping the original music as the front and centre of their performance. Likewise, we can anticipate more original music soon enough as the band have announced their work on a second album. The incredible performance in Liverpool and the anticipation of new songs only adds to my perception of DMA’s as one of the most exciting bands out there.
By Sean Lilley