DMA’S bring the roof down in the Barras

DMA'S press picture DMA'S via Kalpesh Lathigra

By Evie Shields (she/her)

The Sydney indie rock trio brought a show-stopping set to Glasgow on the spookiest night of the year.

On Halloween 2022, DMA’S returned to a sold-out Barrowland Ballroom and were greeted by their ever-strong fan base for their first Scottish show since TRNSMT in July, and they delivered as usual.

As a DMA’S fan, this wasn’t my first time seeing them – and it surely won’t be my last. Remarkably, they are one of those bands who always sound the same live as they do on record. With an intensely loyal fan base comprised mostly of teenage boys and young men, the crowd sounded phenomenal.

The opening band were Pacific Avenue. The stage presence they have for a small band is unreal, and despite only having 115,000 monthly listeners on Spotify – they shine like stars. Pacific Avenue is a four-piece all-male band with a very 1970’s look and sound. Listening to them, I felt like I was rereading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six; a book about a 1970s fictional rock band.

During their last song, the bassist walked through the crowd – this was only 8 pm, so the venue was not packed yet – yet it created a huge buzz, and the audience loved it. They performed an obviously aiming to please cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars,’ regardless of this, it is a song everyone knows and loves. An ideal cover, I think, for an opening band. They took to the stage like they were made for it, showing no signs of apprehension: a great sign, showing huge promise.

Whilst waiting for DMA’S, the venue got a lot busier – there was an eager, anticipating atmosphere as the crowd began to feel rather cramped. With a venue full of primarily men and boys, I felt a little wary at times. Being a young woman at a concert alone can be scary – and I felt this from a slightly antagonistic male audience surrounding me – being told to “wise up” for going to the side to get air.

Despite this experience making me feel on edge, I was able to enjoy a show by a great band. Hundreds of people made their way to the front, aching to be as close to the trio as they could. Frontman Tommy O’Dell gave his audience plenty of opportunities to sing the lyrics back to them; at points, the crowd were deafening. However, a large takeaway from this is how similar their setlist was at TRNSMT back in July. This raises the question: Is it tried and trusted? Or rather, is it all getting a little old?

Without seeing it as getting stale, their setlist is full of guaranteed fan favourites and crowd-pleasers. But why not delve deeper into your discography and play lesser-known songs that fans still love? There is an argument for both sides. Somebody will always complain about any concert setlist of any band or artist, but are DMA’S playing things too safe? In circumstances like this, every fan will have different opinions, since they did have songs like: ‘Tape Deck Sick,’ ‘Feels Like 37,’ and ‘Cobracaine’ amongst the hits like ‘Step Up the Morphine’ and ‘Life Is a Game of Changing.’

They end each show with their adored cover of Cher’s ‘Believe,’ something every DMA’S fan holds close to their heart. Regardless of the venue or audience, one thing that can undoubtedly be trusted is that DMA’S always put on a fantastic set, and they blew the minds of everyone in the Barras on Monday night.

DMA’S return to Scotland next year, playing Fat Sam’s in Dundee on April 16th, Aberdeen Music Hall on April 17th, and Glasgow’s O2 Academy on April 19th.

Pitch given by Danny Munro
Edited by Theerada Moonsiri