The Garage, London
March 2 2016
Words: Linn Branson
There was a bit of a football match going on up the road from the Highbury Garage (some local team called Arsenal, I believe), and as the Australian outfit DMA'S played inside the venue, it at times it was like a few match goers had stopped off at the wrong place, with chants going up before the band took to the stage, and later during a band member changeover on stage.
Ten minutes past their allotted stage time there's restlessness setting in amongst the crowd for this sold-out show, and when they finally make an entrance - the trio expanded to a six-piece with drums, bass and additional guitarist - all decked in baggy jeans, vocalist Tommy O’Dell in Burberry-esque oversized shirt, and of course, the ever-present baseball caps, it's like a full-on 90s Britpop nostalgia night - except done Oz style. And just as you'd be unlikely to ever get a smile or a great deal of chatty banter in between numbers from the likes of the Gallaghers, neither do you with this Sydney crew.
O’Dell particularly owns a presence somewhere in between punk and indie, with face devoid of emotion throughout the night and uttering little more than a brief thank you here and there. Hell, the weather may be a lot different in London to the summer they've just left, but strewth, mate, can't be that bad here, can it? Not that it probably matters - and indeed, their fans here didn't seem too fazed by it - when you have a bag of songs at your disposal as these guys do, and make such sweet music when delivering them.
Their set, opening with ‘Timeless’ and closing with 'Play It Out', follows the order of their just released, widely acclaimed 'Hills End' debut album; in all, nine out of the record's 12 tracks are given a London airing, with one notable exception being 'Step Up The Morphine'. Both 'Timeless' and 'Too Soon' (the latter perhaps the one where the Oasis comparison is most strongly marked, with reverberating guitars and big chorus line) which follows on its heels are robust rockers that set the front rows singing in unison, word perfect on every line. 'In The Moment' sees the perfect marriage between O'Dells vocals and the riffs of guitarists Johnny Took and Matt Mason.
With crowd surfing, punters increasingly being carried aloft on the shoulders of their friends, the two security operatives were kept vigilant, and the tightly crammed and perspiring front rows were no doubt grateful for the cups of water they were handing out as temperatures increased as the set reached its midway point with 'Melbourne', its poignant line “I won’t feel no pain” ringing our around the room, as four guitars weight the melodies against O'Dell's voice and rock out to an end.
'So We Know' lets the six-string speak for itself, as the mood turns down, and the other band musicians kaving the stage for the acoustic rendition, with Mason joining for a fiery electric guitar storming finale. One of the highlights undoubtedly comes in the next number. If there was anyone in the main room of The Garage who didn't know the words to, and wasn't singing along in harmony to, 'Delete', then they were surely in the minority. As the three members stand on stage powering out the anthemic power ballad's “Let it all out, just let it all out,” in all its acoustic finery, there was an atmosphere so charged you could practically taste it. With the full band returning for last two songs, ‘Laced’ and a storming ‘Play It Out’, there is a final tumultuous wave of cheers and applause for this band of cobbers, who turned in what can only be described as a truly bonzer little gig.