Word’s out about the secret set from DMAs, the Sydney band in love with mid ’90s Oasis. The William’s Green tent is rammed with a crowd that largely consists of lads channelling their inner Liam Gallagher by wearing sunglasses indoors.
The band themselves, consisting of vocalist Tommy O’Dell and guitarists Johnny Took and Matt Mason, wear tipped baseball caps and, given their Britpop-style tunes, sometimes recall East 17 moonlighting as an Oasis covers band. There’s something more going on here, though. No-one’s saying this band, who discovered British music of years gone by via the power of the internet, are the most original on the planet – O’Dell somehow contrives to sounds eerily similar to peak-era Liam Gallagher, despite growing up half the world away from the Oasis singer – but the euphoria they evoke at this packed show is undeniably special.
Live, they exude energy that perhaps doesn’t even quite translate on this year’s debut album ‘Hills End’. In this setting, with a pissed up crowing singing back every word, early release ‘Feels Like 37’ feels more unusual and exhilarating than its studio version – there’s something that sounds suspiciously close to flamenco guitar ringing out through William’s Green.
‘Melbourne’, taken from ‘Hills End’, is propulsive and marks the heaviest point in the set, with abrasive squalls of guitar set again O’Dell’s cheery, uplifting image, as he shakes his stick-like shakers like he’s having a go at recalling Stone Roses singer Ian Brown, too.
‘Lay Down’ is wistful and melodic but still packs tons of grit, recalling a time when it was thrilling to see lads in council estates – like Brown and the Gallaghers – picking up guitars and singing about their feelings. ‘Delete’, hooked around strummed acoustic guitar and melancholy lyrics (“Don’t delete my baby / Don’t defeat her now”) draws the biggest singalong of the night, bringing the mood back down to a more melancholy mood. Creating a shared sense of emotion – it’s what the Gallaghers did best.
During a quiet moment in the gig, a girl standing near NME explains to a friend that DMA’s mark a return to the glory days of Blur and Oasis. You know what – on tonight’s evidence, she might be onto something.