Australian rock trio DMA’s brought their unique blend of aussie soft rock and alt-pop to the stage at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on Saturday night.
Formed in 2012, the band is composed of lead vocalist Tommy O’Dell, lead guitarist Matt Mason and rhythm guitarist Johnny Took. 11 years on, they are touring around Australia, stopping in for 2 hometown shows at the historic Enmore Theatre.
The night was opened by Fazerdaze, a Kiwi singer, songwriter and producer who was formerly part of Fremantle’s Indie-Rock band Spacey Jane, whose creative combination of alternative pop-grunge was just the warm up the crowd needed.
Before the band even steps out on stage, you feel the energy begin to mount. The feeling in the room is so unique to Enmore Theatre. With the high ceilings, the space is intimate without the claustrophobic feeling other venues can sometimes have, giving the room space for palpable excitement.
Finally, the boys appear on stage in their usual laid back attire, t-shirts, flannel shirts, jeans and sneakers. Something you would expect your brother to wear. And the crowd loves it.
The band opens the set with How Many Dreams, the second track of their latest album of the same name. Just like the song, the tension builds from the start and by the end of the song you can tell it’s going to be a special night.
The third song on the setlist, Silver, is one of the stand out performances of the night. The song begins softly and gently, by the end completely devolving into beautiful disarray. The opening guitar strum accompanied by the lyrics, ‘Did you feel like heaven’ puts the crowd on their toes. As the beat kicks in, it’s easy to see how listeners have drawn comparisons between 3 boys from Sydney and internationally renowned band Oasis.
The performance put into the music by the band is one that can sometimes be lacking in this genre of music. It feels like O’Dell takes the crowd under his wing, leading them into the chorus, inviting them to sing with him. This track seems to visibly connect each band member, while empty cans fly through the air and the whole crowd jumps in unison, singing ‘How do I redefine all my love for you?’.
Songs from their latest album are littered through the set, including Olympia, Something We Are Overcoming and Fading Like A Picture. But of course another huge moment of the night is when fellow Sydney boy, now international sensation Ruel, joins the stage to test out a work in progress unreleased track. Delighting fans was the way O’Dell’s vocals melted seamlessly with Ruel’s silky falsetto.
Not to be overshadowed by a night of big moments, was the band’s infamous cover of Cher’s Believe. Appearing first on Triple J’s Like A Version in 2017, the track has 12 million views on Youtube and couldn’t possibly be left out of the setlist. While the crowd sways and sings along, it’s clear that the live version is just as capable of giving goosebumps.
The band finishes their set with Feels like 37, a track from their 2014 self-titled EP, only to be cheered back on for an encore. The set of 3 tracks starts slow with In The Air, a song from their album For Now, and finds its faster tempo with their popular track Lay Down from their 2016 album Hills End. The band closes out the show with Everybody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend, a track from their latest album. The crowd sings ‘Everybody’s saying Thursday’s the weekend, Cold calamities from over-speaking’ while they dance to the catchy beat, seemingly aware that this song will sadly be the show’s last.
For some reason this concert made me consider just how important live music still is, even just on a human level. With the progression of social media and the internet, communication between musicians and fans has never been so open and available. A musician’s popularity isn’t as focused on music sales, and is based more heavily on Instagram followers. We now have visible markers to see their popularity go up or down. But what feeling could ever be as wonderful, or as validating as a musician, as seeing a crowd of 1600 people jumping to the beat of your music and screaming your own lyrics back at you. By nature, live music, especially that of the caliber displayed by DMA’s, will never lose its magic.