The difference two years can make is crazy. Two years ago – almost to the day – I squeezed my way into a packed Corner Hotel crowd to watch one of Australia’s most exciting new bands, DMA’S, for the first time. The Sydney trio had just released their debut album, Hills End, and were already capitalising on the early buzz, selling out three shows at Corner.
Fast forward two years, the Brit-pop influenced group performed two sold-out nights at The Forum. To compare, Corner’s capacity is approximately 800, while Forum accommodates around 2000. By no surprise of my own, the band has steadily grown in popularity. For my fifth time seeing DMA’S, I wasn’t gonna be watching from the back of the crowd. I rocked up as the doors opened just to reserve a spot front-and-centre for DMA’S and openers Hatchie.
Hatchie began the night in stunning fashion. The dream-pop band is the project of Harriette Pilbeam, with a star-studded live group featuring Joe Agius (The Creases) and Paddy Harrowsmith (Green Buzzard). Like DMA’S before them, Hatchie has also had a consistent growth in a very short period, due to a number of dazzling singles like ‘Try’, ‘Sure’ and ‘Sleep’. Their performance typified why they’ve had such a rapid rise, running through the aforementioned songs, along with EP title track ‘Sugar and Spice’, ‘Bad Guy’ and a cheeky unreleased gem that stood out on first listen. It was a bit of a shame the crowd weren’t completely keyed into just how talented Hatchie are, but that will soon change.
A constant feature of DMA’S is their minimal dialogue with the crowd. It took frontman Tommy O’Dell three songs before he acknowledged the massive Forum audience with a characteristically mischievous “G’day Melbourne.” That was about it, other than the occasional “cheers.” But there’s no need for Tommy to continually speak. The band know that they can let their sometimes-blissful, sometimes-barnstorming tunes do the talking.
The live septet opened with bona fide catalogue classic ‘Feels Like 37’, ironically the first track on their self-titled debut EP. It was the beginning of a passage of the group’s more upbeat songs, including sophomore album title track ‘For Now’, which saw guitarist Matt Mason descending from the coverage of the smoke machines to show off his Ibis tattoos. Oh, and some face-melting riffs, too.
For Now standout ‘In The Air’ became the first of the band’s more stripped-back songs to be delivered, with acoustic guitarist Johnny Took’s slow strumming hypnotising the testosterone-fuelled Forum. Even the girl who “just had three caps” behind me found it within her to recognise the beauty in the moment. I thought she was overdoing the cappuccinos for a DMA’S gig, but each to their own.
Finally, after a few new For Now tracks – like the anthemic ‘Time & Money’ – the moment that everyone was waiting for dawned, the performance of ‘Delete’. Every baby in the venue must have deleted files prior to the show to accommodate the spine-tingling rendition of DMA’S biggest hit, as the entire 2000-strong crowd captured the song on their shitty iPhone cameras. They’re not to be blamed; the delicate performance of ‘Delete’ was one to truly savour.
‘Lay Down’ has become the group’s go-to show stopper in recent times, and for good reason. The meatheads get one last shot at an attempted mosh pit that they’ve been trying to muster up all night, which thankfully still doesn’t really get going. However, it’s a tremendous track that makes for a tremendous conclusion.
DMA’S have got it nailed. With two sold-out Forum shows under their belt, it will be fascinating to monitor how the band will continue to develop in the future. For Now, we’ll relish in their glorious and deserved success.