13th November 2021: The last time Sydney three-piece DMAs played Ireland was supporting Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds in 2019 in Malahide Castle, but this their first headline show in Dublin’s Academy was truly a baptism of fire for the band who have spent the last month playing arena shows all over the UK, and that’s truly how they perform an arena band gracing a stage stood on before by so many music greats before them.
With these shows being announced back in 2020 alongside their third album ‘The Glow’ and having recently released acoustic based EP ‘I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You,’ there was a real energy in the room of anticipation for this band and for the return of live music as this was the first Aussie band to perform Ireland in 18 months.
Irish rock band N.O.A.H opened, a month away from their headline Whelan’s show and after the release of their debut EP ‘Echoes of the Night.’ This band drew many similarities with bands such as the Amazons and Sundara Karma with their heavy electronic aesthetic. The three-piece put on an opening set that had the crowd crazy for the rest of the night. Seeing them here has shown me that they are destined for good things and it’ll be great to see them again in the coming months.
Now the main event, it starts with guitarist Johnny Took on stage, playing a sampling of beats, chants of “D-D-DMAs” are echoed around the room along with “here we, here we, here we go,” an electric crowd ready for the band’s first show here. Straight away we see why DMAs are becoming an arena level band, the rest of the band take to the stage and straight into Never Before, a track from ‘The Glow’ which wouldn’t sound out of place in the Stone Roses debut album. The band continued with Johnny Took reminding us that this is ‘The Glow’ tour and up next was the title track of the album, these dance-based numbers really changed the movement of the crowd from one bouncing in a mosh pit to one dancing like in any club. To the fury of security, it was during these tracks we see people hoisted on one another shoulders, pints being thrown and an energy this room hasn’t felt in so long.
The set continued with a flurry of tracks from the three albums, this is a band that clearly love touring together, we see during track ‘Hello Girlfriend’ this the most, the band had stated this was their favourite track from the third album and you see that with their smiles whilst playing it. The false endings from guitarist Matt Mason along with the breaks in between with the rest of the band playing on Masons vocals during this track, the crowd seemingly wanting it to never end. After this track the backing band leave and ‘Delete’ is played, two guitars and frontman Tommy’s vocals the way it was intended, building to the last chorus before the rest of the band re-join and erupt the crowd under the track’s drums.
This enigmatic crowd carried the last two songs of the main set with ‘Play It Out’ looking like the moment the band realised they probably could have sold out a week in the Academy, their laid-back persona seemingly broken by the enormous reaction to the tracks they have been playing for close to the past decade now. As they leave the stage the chants of ‘D-D-DMAs’ begin again, the crowd know this isn’t over, Johnny returns to the stage and things are ready for the encore.
Returning to the stage the frontman of few words Tommy thanks the crowd and goes straight into ‘Appointment’ from their third album, this slower track settles the audience again before the last two tracks. Songs from early DMAs that see the place return to the craziness once again, ‘Lay Down’ from their debut ‘Hills End’ as Tommy says ‘with you’ in the track he means with us the audience, his arms lifting and encouraging the crowd even more. Turning from the barrier the scenes behind me echoed an arena band and I think perhaps they could have played a bigger venue.
Ending on ‘Feels Like 37’ one of the tracks from their first EP personifies everything this band has become, a band built on the word of many, coming from Australia, getting comparisons to an early Oasis and rising to become a superb live outfit, Tommy’s vocals this time stating he wants ‘you to stay,’ this band would play all night if they could but this track ending is just an ode to the next time they play and next time you see them.
Crowd classics ‘Delete’ and ‘Play It Out’ received the best reactions of the night but the surprises came in the form of the tracks of the third album ‘The Glow,’ these tracks steeped in a more dance-based orientation had the crowd under the control of the band the entire time.
Compared to the other shows on ‘The Glow’ tour this one was a few songs short but finding out Tommy has been battling an illness and this suggesting the lapse of a few tracks is perfectly acceptable for the show they played. If you can get to see DMAs before they start playing bigger venues because the magic of seeing a band with an arena presence in a small venue is like no other.
DMAs continue with another Academy show Sunday 14th before two sold out shows in Belfast’s Limelight, Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th with support from Brand New Friend. Dylan McAllister