Live Review – DMA’S come home to Scotland ★★★

Image shows two headshots of each member of DMA'S in front of a plain background. L to R, Johnny Took, Matt Mason & Tommy O'Dell. Picture by Kalpesh Lathigra

The Aussie trio DMA’s arrived in Glasgow last week, marking the end of their visit to Scotland during their tour of the UK, having visited Dundee and Aberdeen just a few days prior.

By Leah Buist (she/her)

The three-piece indie rock band, comprising Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason, and Johnny Took, formed in Australia back in 2012 and has since become a staple on indie summer playlists everywhere.

With feel-good songs like ‘Lay Down’ and classic heart-wrenchers like ‘Delete’, the DMA’s manage to hold their own as a valuable addition to a crowded indie market, filled with big names like Circa Waves, Two Door Cinema Club and Sam Fender.

Instead of relaxing in preparation for their show at the O2 Academy last Wednesday, the boys from down under were signing their new record How Many Dreams? in Sauchiehall streets new record shop Assai Records, as dozens queued outside in anticipation of meeting the band.

Taking to the stage later that evening, the boys were met with a warm welcome from a jam-packed crowd of Scots repping DMA’s football tops with bucket hats to match, a staple in any indie lover’s wardrobe.

I could tell that I was among a sea of devoted fans, so I asked some of them what they find so special about the DMA’s. Glasgow student Molly McMahon said: “Their music has grown with their audience. We love everything they put out. I love everything they’ve done, and we grow together”.

Fellow student Leah Murray said: “They are nostalgic for me because I started listening when I was 15 and it was my dad who got me into them. ‘The End’ is my favourite song of theirs, it speaks to every heartbreak, to every bad thing that’s happened in my life”.

The DMA’s hold a special place in the hearts of their fans which couldn’t have been clearer, as the crowd sang, danced, and applauded as the band performed their way through the setlist before reaching my all-time favourite song of theirs, ‘Silver’.

I immediately got on the trusty shoulders of my boyfriend so I could get a better glimpse at the boys on stage. The crowd below me lit up the dark room with their phone torches and collectively we all screamed the lyrics at the top of our lungs. I found myself uncontrollably smiling from ear to ear and without a doubt, this was the highlight of the night for me.

Then I found that their performance kind of flat-lined in the middle of their set as all of their songs had the same kind of sound and merged into one. They lost me for a while and some of the crowd too, but when the first few beats of ‘Lay Down’ started to bellow from the speakers near the end, the room soon livened up again.

This song is probably one of their best. You can’t help but feel uplifted when you listen to it and the vibe instantly transports you to a hot summer’s day on the grass of TRNSMT festival.

Although again, the vibe plummeted from here as their closing songs had much of the same sound, with nothing managing to stand out and blow me away. For the first time ever at the end of a set list, I felt kind of bored, as if I was waiting for it to finish. It would have been better if they had jiggled their set list around a bit and saved some bangers and crowd favourites for the very end.

Overall, I left feeling underwhelmed, and I preferred their performance at TRNSMT festival last year. But that’s not to say that DMA’s aren’t a band worth listening to as they have many songs that I would be thrilled to hear live again.

DMA’S played the O2 Academy, Glasgow on 19 April 2023.