These tracksuit and cap-clad Sydney boys could have easily convinced you this was their home gig. They strode onto the stage to a sea of bucket hats and feverish anticipation, opening the Academy with a passionate rendition of their second EP ‘Feels like 37’. Their fans erupted into a leaping mob, creating a wall of forceful energy the band easily matched, with a set steeped in a boyish intensity of spirit.
They launched into their new music with ‘For Now’, the powerful opener and title track of their latest album, which was met with a similar full-throated appreciation as the band’s classics. Tinged with indie-rock and punk, DMA’S embody the UK’s Britpop era, evoking a sense of nostalgia and a longing for a scene kept alive by the band’s, surprisingly multi-generational fans, who were united in an undeniably British, and somewhat violent, appreciation of the mosh-pit. With the release of this second album, offering more of a similar ilk, DMA’S are proving they have sticking power, leaving plenty of space within which to evolve and integrate fully into the UK music scene.
‘Delete’ offered a slight acoustic calm amidst the tumult. The crowed lulled, flooded with the light of a single spotlight, highlighting lead singer Tommy O’Dell and the band’s soft, oddly delicate voices; they were powerful in their ability to create momentary quiet in a room of chaos. This pause acted as a reminder of the introspective, simple yet, insightful lyricism which underpins such a forceful stage presence, lifting this band from simply being a replica of its predecessors.
Inevitably this moment of stillness was broken as the band soared from anthem to anthem, from full-throttle ‘Timeless’ to the grief-filled and honest ‘Step up the Morphine’, which almost broke my heart.
The set-list was punctured with new material, such as the catchy and upbeat beauty that is ‘Time and Money’, proving this band are here with force and here to stay and closing with ‘Emily Whyte’, the last track off their new album. Drawing the pre-encore gig to a close with one of their newest and most lyrical tracks exemplifies DMA’S’ fearless ability to wear their hearts on their sleeve, crafting painfully honest lyrics, amongst souring and powerful melody. With this they left the crowd chanting at their feet before strolling back on stage for a three-song-strong encore, as if their set hadn’t packed enough of a punch.
With ever-increasing intensity the room was filled once again with an ecstatic bedlam. The smoke of a flare from the middle of the crowd encompassed the band as the they surged into their final song, ‘Lay Down’ – the ultimate indie-rock anthem, evoking British festival season at its best and celebrated as such in one final and joyous mosh.
As the crowd filed out the side exit they left the space which, just for a few hours, had been given up to a britpop revival, forcefully revelled in. Yet it has to be said, the band’s slower songs, were, in part, lost amongst the sweat of bare backs and beer-soaked polyester. However, they didn’t disappoint when it came to content, pouring their energy into a packed setlist which left little room for filler, surging from song to song.
There’s not many bands with the power to maintain those kind of energy levels throughout and it’s this which means they will lose little traction on the UK leg of their tour. Ultimately this is a band for the generation who missed out on britpop and for those who remember it and want to revel in nostalgia and sweat once again.