DMA’s – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds – 04.03.16
In what universe would you see a tiny hall crammed with people representing a multitude of different subcultures, spanning from ‘have you got I.D. on you’ youngens with their skinheads, to shirtless, air guitar playing, crowd surfing grandads with a healthy gender divide?
What was so spectacular about this gig was the world created in Belgrave’s music hall by three young lads, every wildly different person united for and sharing the love of one thing: the music. That’s the thing about DMA’s – they have a wide and universal appeal. Their album Hill’s End was released a week prior to the gig and is a compilation of well written songs, sing along melodies and upbeat tempos, even evident in their most stripped down tracks. Each song is filled with promise and optimism, reminiscent of the late 80’s and 90’s indie/alternative music scene.
An important distinction to make is that these lads are not the second coming of Oasis, or actively staging a Britpop revival. Maybe they are nostalgic for the bands they are constantly compared to, and maybe they appeal to those fans who thought those days were long gone with a fresh burst of energy. But DMA’s are current and of the moment, and with a critical eye it is easy to see that they are so much more than the lazy associations that surround them.
The gig was kicked off by a vibrant up-and-coming support band from Leeds called The Indigo Project. They were followed by DMA’s, comprised of Tommy O’Dell, Matthew Mason and Johnny Took, along with three additional live members of a guitarist, bassist and drummer. It’s clear that a six piece band, just like their presence, was way too big for the tiny stage due to a mixture of different personalities inhabiting it. Although there is a uniform casual attire emphasised between DMA’s, there was a distinct individuality in each member ringing out throughout their set.
The performance eased in with “Timeless”, which was followed by an energetic rendition of “Too Soon”, and then onto a track not listed on their album – “Feels like 37” – but sensing the reaction from the crowd it was a known number, and was received well. At that point, it was apparent from the majority of the crowd singing along that the band is something of a late bloomer, ready to burst into something massive any second. A rendition of “Straight Dimensions” followed, succeeded by another non-album track, “Your Low”. The band had a small interval to chat to the audience, but aside from that there was minimal interaction throughout the set.
Back into the set, DMA’s kicked off with the anthemic “In the Moment”, onto “Melbourne”, followed by the single “Lay Down”, which geared up the audience into a frenzy, then slowed things down with a soulful delivery of “So We Know”. However, the most magical moment of the gig was “Delete”, where the three men came together and performed passionately. Here you could really pick up on the bluegrass influence from Took with an acoustic guitar, and happy grunge vibes from Mason’s lead guitar melodies; highlighting the essential individuality of each member and what they bring to the table together as DMA’s.