Published on May 8th, 2018 | by Nigel Cartner0
DMA’s @ Manchester Academy 28/04/18
With new album, ‘For Now’, just released, the DMA’s returned to Manchester to play a sold out show at Manchester Academy. Their last outing in these parts was eighteen months earlier at The Ritz, and the step up in venue capacity shows that their star is continuing to soar to heights that could see them cemented in modern British culture, going above and beyond the achievements of their fellow Australian countrymen, JET, back in the early to mid-2000s.
Watching the crowd pile in, I couldn’t help but have the same thoughts as I had at The Ritz gig, in that this is a band that unifies people. I’ve never been to an Arctic Monkeys gig, but I imagined the same type of crowd attended their gigs when they were at the same level in their career. It’s an Adidas haven, with all forms of the youth culture coming together, from students to young professionals, to those residing in less affluent areas. Then there’s people like myself and older, quietly observing from the back, but we’re all there for one purpose, and that is simply to see an exceptional band.
‘Feels like 37’ is the opener, and incidentally the song that put them on my radar a few years ago. It’s a cracking, pulsating indie rock track which serves to fire up the crowd further than the pre-gig hype. Cries of “D-D-D M A’s! D-D-D M A’s” boom around the venue, acting as the war cry from the crowd that’s chanted at every opportunity throughout the set.
With the new album just released, it’s understandable that half the set goes on to comprise of songs taken from that. The new songs are sounding good, but with most of the crowd immersed into their debut album, it’s in those songs where the more passionate reactions occur. But give it time, when the fans have had the chance to fully absorb the new material in its entirety, there is no doubt they will become classics of the band’s repertoire. However, the lead energetic track from the new album, ‘Dawning’, coupled with the emotive, ‘In the Air’, proved to be instant hits that have already had that an effect on the fans.
These two songs epitomise what DMA’s are all about, carrying on the approach from debut album, ‘Hills End’. They create a potent cocktail of high-tempo, swaggering indie rock tracks that has the crowd jumping one minute, then the next minute they switch the mood to slower ballads that hold such a depth of emotion where the crowd stand appreciatively, arms outstretched, belting back the lyrics to the band. That image was more prevalent when their most commercially successful hit, ‘Delete’, was played. It’s a beautiful piece of modern song writing that’s riddled with reflective emotion, and when it’s performed live, the crowd’s romanticised reaction is one of those moments that will stay with you forever.
The three song encore comprises of the more animated tracks: ‘Play it Out’, ‘In the Moment’ and ‘Lay Down’, which completes a remarkable set that further proves just how gifted this band really are. With a recent endorsement from Manc legend Liam Gallagher, there is a familiarity with the band he fronted that became so iconic. Not that DMA’s sound like Oasis whatsoever, or are trying to be them, but they pull a similar crowd, unify people in the same way, and have the innate ability to write a mixture of anthemic classics and poignant sentimental tunes, with lyrics that resonate with everyone across their generation and beyond. Just how far they go and what legacy they leave remains to be seen, but on this evidence they’re just “in the dawning” of what they can achieve.
Photo by McLean Stevenson