6th November 2023
I was incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to see STONE and the DMA’s at our very own Mountford Hall in December. The Sydney-based band released their fourth album, How Many Dreams? In March of last year, the band did a massive 31-stop tour in celebration of the album’s release.
The Aussie band has reached the top 10 on the ARIA album with each of their albums, including the most recent reaching the top 5 in the album charts in the UK. The DMA’s have had massive success in the UK and continue to on this tour. Across the board, they are a quintessential indie-rock band citing many Brit-pop bands as their influences, their success beyond borders is no surprise.
Mia Wray was the first support act of the night hailing from Queensland it was great to see a young Australian talent open for a more established ban. She truly captivated the audience and held her own in front of a large crowd. She has garnered impressive comparisons to Holly Humberstone as well as Lorde and Florence and the Machines. It was a pop-filled upbeat intro to otherwise heavier sets which made a lasting impression on new listeners in the audience.
Liverpool locals STONE have opened for the band on the entirety of this tour, but of course, were buzzing for a home crowd. STONE’s sound is pretty hard to pin down, blending alt-rock, punk and elements of hip-hop amongst other genres. What is clear about the band is their aim to highlight their experiences of youth culture in Liverpool.
STONE were an incredible opener, as noisy, dynamic and stylish as ever. If You Wanna and Money (Hope Ain’t Gone) were particular standouts, as well as being great introductions to the band. In a calmer moment, frontman Fin Power gave a touching tribute to fellow scouser and lead singer from the Night Cafe Sean Martin who had recently passed away. They set the stage and raised the energy to the dizzying heights needed for the DMA’s.
Arriving triumphantly on stage to Olympia from their most recent album, this guitar solo-heavy track set the tone for the rest of the show. Frontman Tommy O’Dell’s vocals are raw and emotive, backed by anthemic guitars that drive the DMA’s laid-back approach to indie-rock. The texture in the DMA’s performances comes largely from their use of three guitars which layer perfectly. In particular, guitarist Johnny Took’s Gibson acoustic, which he carries for most of the set adds so much depth to the band’s performance.
Throughout the set, the band professed their love for the city and England particularly the crowds and how much the band felt like they owe to English crowds who have supported them from early on. The set was a blend of each of their albums featuring just as many tracks from their debut album Hills End as their most recent How Many Dreams? This particularly worked for the crowd who seemed equally excited about the DMA’s new and older work.
My favourite DMA’s song is by far Silver, which was on the night a crowd favourite. It was a particularly sentimental moment within the set with the whole crowd singing along to the ballad-like track. The band themselves seemed to particularly revel in this moment singing every word of the chorus right back to the crowd. My other favourite is Get Ravey which was early in the set and sustained the energy already created by the band.
The main set was closed out with one of the band’s oldest songs Feels Like 37 which was a triumphant track for the band to leave the stage with before the encore. The blend of new and older work continued into the final three songs of the night. Step Up The Morphine and Lay Down are definitely crowd favourites and are some of the band’s most streamed songs this was evident from the audience’s reactions.
Lay Down was played with the Hello Girlfriend outro each time the end of the song arrived guitarist Matt Mason would scream “Such a funny thing for me to try to explain” before the band would kick in again. The crowd absolutely adored this and it sent the energy through the roof before the final song of the night Everbody’s Saying Thursday’s The Weekend. Both the band and the crowd seemed to be revelling in the final moments of the show and being in one another’s presence for the last time in a while.
My only issue with this show was the crowd. It was largely older and male which is not an issue in itself but a lot of the audience was quite drunk. This led to some unacceptable behaviour and uncomfortable moments for some women at the show, myself included. This is no fault of the bands or the venues but is simply a reality of many gigs. For help, resources and support around this issue from Safe Gigs 4 Women click here.
The best way to describe the DMA’s performance is full of energy and a genuine enjoyment of what they’re doing. They perform with a mix of laidback ease and crowd-rousing energy that genuinely feels like a sun-soaked festival set. This demeanour from the band perfectly matches their sound and approach to music. Even the band’s origin was organic, coming from messing around writing lyrics together at home.
Above all the band just seems to love what they’re doing and this translates flawlessly into their performance. Their love of music is evident in their performance and is infectious purely because they seem so proud of what they’ve achieved and so excited for the future.
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