Seeing DMA’s at Wakefield’s Unity Works was not only my first time seeing the Australian band, but the first time I had stepped foot into the city. A mere half hour from Leeds on the train, I had never ‘needed’ to make the journey, always lucky enough to catch favourite and new bands in my own city. Unity Works, though, was the greatest of surprises – small, atmospheric, and nostalgically reminiscent of every small hometown social club; for it was the perfect venue for DMA’s melodic, easy to sing-along-to music.
Cavernous and beautiful, the haunting echoes of frontman Tommy O’Dell’s vocals made me understand the Oasis comparisons the band have enjoyed since releasing debut single ‘Delete’ to critical acclaim in 2016; these comparisons had scared me a little, forcing me to imagine a frontman cocky, karaoke-like, but I could not have been more wrong. Although O’Dell does mirror that arrogance on stage, burrowed into his mic and staring moodily out at the crowd, the tenderness of DMA’s lyrics saves them from any accusation of pretension.
Opening track ‘Play It Out’ encapsulated the spirit of Britpop and British indie music, with its uplifting yet simultaneously melancholy lyrics and consistently regular controlled guitar riff making me immediately think of not only Oasis, but The Stone Roses and The Psychedelic Furs. The band’s Sydney roots aren’t invisible, though, with more light-hearted tracks posing as alternative love songs, such as ‘Your Low’ and ‘Lay Down’, cheering the crowd and taking us all on a journey through everyday emotions, from falling in love to partying with friends. My personal highlight was track ‘Melbourne’, a surprising favourite considering I had barely taken notice of it before the live show. The increasingly urgent guitar riff and desperate rawness that rang through O’Dell’s voice, and the line “To know there’s time for me to be, / The space for when you fall apart” hit a chord, after a few too many pints, pent-up emotions being forced to the surface and a mysterious liquid being flung over my hair. The constant emotion, yet never-failing enjoyability, that permeated the band’s performance made it a show not easy to forget, a display of something truly special, both original and nostalgic.
So, “don’t delete my baby”. And whatever you do, don’t delete or forget this band. You’ll be seeing a hell of a lot more of them in the next year.