LIVE REVIEW: DMA’s at Camden Roundhouse, London

DMAs

DMA’s efforts following their 2018 LP For Now have seen the band increasingly adopt dance elements and synths alongside their jangly indie-rock sound. They have never had a single that has entered the UK charts, but they know how to sell out venues.

Whilst from the outset, The Stone Roses and Oasis influences were undeniable, the audience was instantly wowed, not by something that reminded them of these idolised bands, but by the DMA’s persona, their energy and the original songs they played. When DMA’s kicked off with “Timeless”, the trio earned every single impromptu “woahohoh” and “eheheh” the crowd sang back as loudly and as out of tune as their larynxes and lungs would permit.

Frontman Tommy O'Dell had undoubtedly picked up tips from Liam Gallagher when the band toured with him, including the ability to stand statuesque and nonplussed as the crowd’s momentum soared. What the DMA’s have, which Liam has too, are songs where the crowd can sing every word back by heart. The first of these was the third track, “Dawning”. The audience singing grew louder and more confident as the band played their acoustic-led live staple, “Silver”.

The latest song, “Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend,” from the as-yet-unreleased new LP, had its EDM elements toned down. Whilst unfamiliarity with this song was evident, the positive reception to it was equally visible. The synths and dance vibes were able to join as equal partners on “I Don't Need to Hide”. It was obvious that fans who had supported the DMA’s since the tens embraced these new elements into the DMA’s signature guitar-laden sound. An extended version of “Cobracaine” then truly showed how dance music can bloom alongside indie-rock.

The band wisely chose to go all out with guitars on “Play It Out” from their debut effort Hills End, before the encore when they initially returned without their backing musicians to play “Step Up the Morphine”. Nostalgia was fuelled when DMA’s then played “Feels Like 37” from their 2014 debut EP before finishing the set with a song which not only made history for the artist who originally made it but for the DMA’s too. The song is Cher’s “Believe”. The DMA’s cover in 2016 was the highest entry to date for a cover version in the Triple J Hottest 100, an annual music listener poll hosted by the publicly-funded, national Australian youth radio station. It wasn’t just the Australian ex-pats who dug this acoustic rendition; it was DMA’s entire global fan base.

Fortunately for the sold-out Roundhouse, no flares were thrown. When the DMA’s previously played Manchester at the Victoria Warehouses, a new record of flares set off was made. Thankfully the only flares present were the ones worn by fellow Sydney-based support band Pacific Avenue who elated the crowd with their music as opposed to their flares being explosive or confiscated.

The international appeal of the DMA’s does not lie in them being Dylanesque lyricists, heartthrobs or even pioneers of a new musical sound. Their appeal is in making new original guitar-based music increasingly fused with EDM exciting for people aged 35 and younger. The number of young people who could sing each word by heart and out of key whilst moshing and dancing was a testament to this. And for a minority who were overly disinhibited, lob beer towards the front of the stage. Whilst there were occasional short videos and pictures taken by audience members, this DMA’s Roundhouse performance overall was experienced by a new generation of music lovers who voluntarily transported themselves to a pre-smartphone age. And they couldn’t have been happier.

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