It wasn’t planned this way, but I am writing this on the first anniversary of the last gig I went to. Stiff Little Fingers at the Birmingham Academy. It seems strange to be reviewing a live album that was recorded just a few days before.

It seems so remote now that on 6th March 2020 5000 people crammed into the superb Brixton Academy (only been there once, to see Mastodon as it happens) to watch DMA’s underline the fact they are the next crossover stars.

Cards on the table, full disclosure. I am a massive fan of the Aussies. It happened by fluke. I am not – in any way – an “indie” music fan, but long story short, I ended up in Leicester in December 2018 watching a band I’d never actually heard. What I saw that night was incredible. I saw a connection between band and public, I saw a band that had a collection of brilliant songs, but overall, a band that was ready.

That band was DMAS, and it was only after I’d got home that I realised the six piece that was on stage was a three piece in the studio (although that changed with “The Glow” last summer) but it does give a totally different dynamic to the band in a live setting.

This hour and 20 minutes from Brixton (which closely resembles the set I saw them do a few months before in Birmingham) is all the proof you need that this is a special band, one that transcends boundaries in a way that not many do, and one that almost effortlessly creates massive soundscapes and huge sounding tracks.

There are some superb moments here, the opening “Feels Like 37” which has a kind of driving, Stereophonics type feel – and I dare you not to feel nostalgic at the exhalant scream of the crowd –  the subtle changes of tempo in “Dawning”, or the way that the acoustic guitar of Johnny Took is front and central, taking the lead at times as in “Hello Girlfriend”. It’s what makes this band for me.

At the centre of this is Tommy O’Dell. An odd “Frontman”. The drummer in the studio, he has a magnetic, sort of Liam Gallagher approach to leading. Yet he compels, and his voice is astonishing.

“Time And Money” is the one they’ll play at Wembley Stadium, “Step Up The Morphine” jangles a bit, like their obvious 80s UK heroes, but they aren’t beholden to a fashion, or a “sound”. “Delete” – a real singalong – proves that, and the post-punk flavours of “Tape Deck Sick” see them moving even further into tangents.

It’s the way they use the guitar that most impresses. “Play It Out” has a light, airy feel (and sees the band cut loose and enjoy themselves) but “Timeless” is darker. “Lay Down” is not far off a punk song, and “Your Low” is every inch the anthem.

It’s all done with a lack of bombast too. “We’re the DMA’s, thanks for having us,” says O’Dell, as if he’s grateful to have been invited to your party – in many ways that is the vibe, I guess.

Reluctant rock stars they might be, but DMA’s are the future. It’s that simple.

Rating 9/10

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