The last time I saw DMAS at Sheffield O2 Academy was on the 16th of December in 2019 and tonight, two years on, the atmosphere for the Australian three-piece is again just as raucous. You can feel the anticipation heaving over the barrier as I’m standing in the pit waiting to photograph.
It wouldn’t seem right to not mention a bit of history here before I start, the past few weeks has seen DMA’S embark upon their biggest UK tour selling 60,000 tickets. It represents the DMA’S’ first UK tour since they achieved the highest chart positions of their career with their euphoric, alt-pop-tinged third album ‘The Glow’. With that album, they went on to win Album of the Year, Rock Album of the Year, and Best Dance Single (for The Avalanches’ remix of ‘Criminal’) at the 2021 Australian Independent Records Awards.
Playing gigs like this tonight is what the band have always dreamed of, they’ve gone from making music in their bedrooms to being one of the UK’s most loved bands and that’s only come from the band’s hard work of relentless touring and musical progression that I personally think has helped cement building and maintaining their audiences in the UK. If anyone expected another lad-rock band that churned out the same genre of songs. again and again, DMA’s were never going to fit in that box.
As the lights go down, the crowd erupts into a frenzy as the band enters the stage. It’s understandable, it’s been a long wait to see our favorite Aussies come back to Yorkshire. The band kicks off into Never Before and Tommy’s voice is on point, infact his voice is astonishing, especially after playing practically back-to-back tour schedule in the weeks up to this date.
The Glow, Dawning, In The Moment follows, this is a really good crowd you can always count on the Sheffield crowd to bring the energy, everyone’s really into it as they chant “DMAS, DMAS, DMAS” as Tommy tells the crowd…
“You’re looking beautiful Sheffield, we’re finally here to play The Glow to you, stay safe, here’s Silver!”
They quickly next kick into Life Is a Game Of Changing with its techno beats and dancey vibes, the crowd is singing every word back to the band. I’m on the upper balcony now and the energy and heat from the lower crowd is almost unbearable, but the scenes from above are epic. Girls and guys are on shoulders, lights from phones are lighting up the air and pints are flying. It’s a sight to behold for the band who has travelled halfway across the world to play for them.
The band’s impressive back catalogue and new material make for one hell of a setlist. What I always find special is that you can hear the growth of the band musically every single time they release and play something new, this is demonstrated live from tracks from the debut album. Hills End to the critically acclaimed third studio album The Glow.
Lowering the energy, the band played a cathartic rendition of ‘In The Air’ from 2018’s ‘For Now‘ album and was a stand-out moment of the night personally for me.
‘Junk Truck Head Fuck’ is also another highlight, the track comes from the DMA’s recent surprise EP ‘I Love You Unconditionally, Sure Am Going To Miss You’.
Chants for the band to return on stage are intense, “DMA’S! DMA’S! DMA’S!“. The band return and play ‘Appointment‘ and a crowd explodes into a sea of bouncing heads as the band tears into ‘Lay Down‘.
Closing the encore with ‘Feels Like 37′ was the perfect end to a night full of insane energy. The opening snarl of Tommy’s “And I don’t feel where you’re coming from, and I don’t see what you need!” fills the venue and gives sweat-soaked fans the perfect opportunity to shout out the lyrics at the ceiling.
One thing DMA’s nailed with this gig was that sense of unity, togetherness, and connection that we’ve all longed for. This was a show built for the fans and they absolutely loved it.
Despite their Australian roots, DMA’s are undoubtedly one of the best live bands and one of the most influential in British rock. I can not wait to see what the future holds.
In The Moment
Game Of Changing
We Are Midnight
In The Air
Junk Truck Head Fuck
Play It out
Feels Like 37
Sadly, due to child commitments, I arrived late and didn’t get to see the support band The Goa Express but I have heard nothing but great things about this band, and upon checking them out today I highly suggest you follow suit here.
Images: Rachel Brown