DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018

DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018DMA’S @ 02 Institute, 25 May 2018

It was a hot night here in Birmingham, and DMAs alongside their support band Planet helped turn up the heat a few notches at the O2 Institute with one of the most memorable gigs I have ever been to. If Carlsberg made perfect bank holiday weekends, then this was probably the best start to one.  DMA’s sophomore album “For Now” was released on the 27th April and it is a record that captured me immediately. The Sydney based trio have drawn references such as the Australian Oasis, and yes their music has a feel that does throwback to that early 90s Manchurian sound, but tonight reinforced to me that there are so many dimensions being overlooked.

The night started with support band Planet, another Sydney based band that have recently appeared on the radar. They seem to be gaining a lot of momentum at the moment with their catchy indie jangle pop. It turns out that frontman Matty Took is actually the brother of DMA’s guitarist Johnny Took (who actually came out to play with them for one of the tracks which I think was Aching Dream) and there are indeed similarities in the two bands sounds. It is quickly apparent that they both grew up on a diet of the same musical influences. If you are a DMA’s fan, then there is no doubt that you will like this band. As the venue filled up, their sound grew in popularity, and a certain confidence started to come across from the group. Their debut EP Walking Eight is out now, and they are definitely worth checking out.

At precisely 8:30 pm the lights faded and DMA’s entered the stage, words cannot actually describe how amazing the opening track Feels Like 37 was, you had to be there I think. To get somewhere close to the experience put the record on, close your eyes and just imagine the entire venue pogoing alongside beer and shirts flying around everywhere and you will be somewhere close (if you fancy it, turn your heating up to 28°C, run around your living room to get nice and sweaty, then get someone to tip a pint of beer over your head just to get that true 4D feeling). It was one of the most intense openers to a gig that I’ve seen in recent years and blended seamlessly with the title track to their current album For Now which kept the excitable crowd going.

If you are reading this and don’t really know much about DMA’s their music has a certain familiarity. They take you back to a time when Britpop dominated the charts. They have a hint of the jangle pop of The Smiths with a touch of the innovative baggy sound introduced by bands like The Stone Roses. A sound that was distinctively the mid-90s to the mid-00s, in essence, the music of my generation. The crowd tonight consisted more than that of the late 30 something looking for that opportunity to reminisce about a time that has gone by. This was a time for generations to come together and enjoy a certain swagger that seems to be missing with the music that a lot of UK bands have been creating until recently.

Tommy O’Dell’s vocals were on fine form, and although a man of few words he delivered his message by working the crowd in a way that I haven’t seen for a long time, easily ramping up the ferocity of the crowd with his lyrics and his almost god-like stage presence. Acoustic guitarist (and birthday boy) Johnny Took, and lead guitarist Matt Mason both played their part with the magnitude and powerful delivery of the music. Interestingly enough the 3 piece become a 6 piece when they play live with an added bass player, drummer and extra guitarist and their live set was as perfect as listening to their records. In fact, the energy from the crowd possibly made it better than just playing their music through your headphones.

The intensity of the crowd didn’t really ease off all night. But there were a few calm moments like ballad In The Air; which was greeted with people getting on each other’s shoulders, a lot of swaying and many hands in the air. The fans were in fine voice tonight particularly for Step Up The Morphine and Delete taken from the band’s debut album Hills End.

The 16 track set was a great mix of both of their albums as well as a nod to their debut EP. From raw rock and roll indie anthems to timeless melodies and psychedelic influenced tracks the music that DMA’s craft has something for everyone. The blend of tracks to dance to and ballads was perfect tonight, and the order in which they were executed together with how they were delivered was particularly impressive. The stage set up was minimal with four banners with the letters D, M, A and S, but when this was lit up in red like the recent album cover, it was something special. I was actually standing by the sound and lighting desk, and the lighting technician was into the tracks as much as the band, and fans were, and this certainly helped to enhance the atmosphere.

All the tracks that I wanted to hear were played tonight, and all of them were crowd pleasers. From listening to their albums the tracks you thought would make you dance did, and the ballads had that perfect sing-a-long effect. Timeless, Warsaw, Dawning and Break Me were the standout tracks during the main part of the set. They ended the main set with the playout track from For Now, Emily Whyte. It was a compelling way to close the album, and it worked perfectly live as well leaving the crowd demanding more. They started the night with a bang, but they managed to end it by tearing the roof off with Lay Down. The crowd worked hard throughout the gig, but everyone had something left for this track, I am convinced that I felt the actual building move through all of the energy being let off in the venue.

At this point I am sure you are thinking can he be impartial? Everything I have written in this review is probably coming across as “fanboy”. To a certain extent I suppose it should as I do really like this band, but if you were there, you would have seen a perfectly executed and wonderfully balanced gig where the only critique could be that the night had to end. DMA’s are growing in popularity almost exponentially. The small venues are done, the mid-size venues are nearly done, it won’t be long until it is arenas, and they definitely deserve it. In many respects, this was the feng shui of gigs (perfectly balanced) and everyone that left the O2 Institute tonight would have been thinking exactly the same.


Feels Like 37

For Now



In the Air


Time & Money

Break Me

Step Up The Morphine


Do I Need You Now?


Emily Whyte


Play it Out

In The Moment

Lay Down


Reviewer: Imran Khan

Photographer: Ian Dunn

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