DMAs – Live Review – Leeds O2 Academy

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By Victoria Holdsworth, December 2018

It has been quite a year for the indie rockers from Sydney, Australia, however, unlike many of their other antipodean counterparts, the British public have really taken them to their hearts – and who can blame them?

The O2 Academy is sold out, and there is hardly room to breathe as the lads unassumingly take to the stage and simply crack on with it. Opening with ‘Play It Out’ and ‘Dawning’, they set the mood for a night of non-stop, back-to-back tunes.

What the lads lack in stage presence is positively backed up by their vocal and musical abilities. They seemed to be a little overwhelmed tonight, which has nothing to do with a lack of confidence, but more the fact that every single fan in the place wanted a piece of them, such is the frenzy that is surrounding and aimed at these guys this evening.

Continuing with ‘Melbourne’, ‘Timeless’, and ‘In The Air’, DMAs’ singer, Thomas O’Dell’s vocal performance gets stronger and more formidable the more you hear it. This enables him to get his surging crowd chanting the lyrics back to him, whilst throwing quite a few frenzied pints.

dmas live review leeds o2 academy december 2018 band


There are no chinks in the DMAs armour. As they forge on with easily one of the stand out songs of the night, ‘Warsaw’, closely followed up by their new release, ‘Time & Money’, which again sees the unyielding crowd lapping up every single note. It’s one of many points tonight where the crowd actually drown out the sound system in the O2.

‘Step Up The Morphine’, is another roof raising anthem and is such a gripping tune it creates a whole new driving atmosphere towards the halfway point in the set. Then the ever-popular ‘Delete’ from the album Hills End proves it is a must for any play list.

dmas live review leeds o2 academy december 2018 gigThere are some tender moments in the set that give the opportunity for O’Dell to show the more sensitive side to his song writing. Also there’s real emotive range on show when he sings: “Do I need you now/did I need you then/I don’t know now but I’ll figure it out/In a time to leave, in a space to mend/I don’t know how but I’ll make it the end”. Another crowd-pleaser sends a wave of frenzy amongst the devotees with the uplifting, ‘Emily Whyte’.

“Poetic beauty”

Whilst the DMAs are only two albums into their musical endeavours, they have packed a lot into those songs. It could have gone horribly wrong, but they have pulled it off to perfection, exemplified by ‘Feels Like 37′, which has to be my outright favourite song of the set. It has a simplistic poetic beauty in the lyrics and slowly burns up into a sweet little anthem with a lovely shimmer of The Charlatans’ sound sprinkled over it.

There is a short reprieve, whilst the lads do the walk off and on again, and just looking around the O2 tonight, there is not one punter that wants them to go home. Just the crowd noise alone makes this very apparent. It was phenomenal!

The last two songs, ‘Laced’ and ‘Lay Down’, get the masses even more enthusiastic. Both songs again draw on a structured simplicity from the guitars which permeates throughout each member until it forms the whole blistering, soaring sound at the end. And right there is the thing that sets DMAs apart: as they invite comparisons with other bands, they simultaneously dispel them with their own unique alchemy. Still rising, then.


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