July’s Y Not Festival proved to be a huge disappointment after many key scheduled acts failed to perform due to incessant rain that swept across Derbyshire over the weekend. These “adverse weather conditions”, as the organisers put it, eventually led to the sold-out festival’s cancellation a day early. Attendees were left furious at the slapdash precautionary measures put in place to protect the site from the unlikely event of rain hitting a British summer festival.
Despite the dark clouds that cast over the festival throughout Thursday and Friday, a ray of sunshine did blast through when DMA’S took to the main stage during Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, the Aussie band played the festival as intended, albeit earlier than planned as, like all of Saturday’s main stage acts, they were moved forward. Despite being messed around by shoddy arrangements, DMA’S delivered a much-needed concise-but-explosive set to a hungry crowd starved by Friday’s lack of main stage action.
As the band glided through their refined set of flowing guitar anthems, the Y Not crowd became a picture of ecstasy. Beer cans flew through air clouded by red flares as fans bounced and collided, reaching for the sky as they cheered along to every lyric.
Only last summer I had seen DMA’S let loose on one of the smaller stages at Leeds Festival; a year later and they had no trouble stepping up to a festival main stage. Their triumphant display at Y Not an indication of how they are destined for bigger stages and bigger crowds.
That’s not to say their impact at Y Not surprised me. Having also been lucky enough to see a mesmerising live performance of theirs at Sheffield’s Plug on the Wednesday night preceding Y Not Festival, I was well aware of how Australia’s twist on Britpop was capturing a growing, young English audience.
Before the lads from Down Under casually take the stage in Sheffield, the crowd calls them out in anticipation, aggressively chanting “D-D-DMA’S!” which has seemingly caught on as the band’s mantra.
After near constant touring since the release of their debut album last year and their first EP a year before that, the band surge through an established setlist, which is an efficiently crafted collection of their own songs – there is no room for their outstanding acoustic cover of Cher’s ‘Believe’, which disappoints some fans. Nevertheless, the crowd are singing along as soon as ‘Play It Out’ kicks in. This opener, featured on the FIFA 17 soundtrack, and ‘In the Moment’, which comes halfway through the set, are prominent examples of when DMA’S are at their most psychedelic.
The rest of the set is filled with rip-roaring rock songs, notably ‘Feels like 37’, ‘Too Soon’ and ‘Timeless’, bursting with passion and capped off by rousing choruses. Alongside these are heartfelt ballads ‘Step Up the Morphine’, ‘So We Know’ and ‘Delete’ which resonate superbly with the crowd. The band deliver a couple more upbeat bangers when they return for the encore. Firstly, ‘Laced’ off their initial EP before erupting into their best song ‘Lay Down’ which closes the set with the wildest mosh pit of the night.
Furthermore, it would be wrong if I failed to mention that in amongst all the perfectly executed fan-favourites, DMA’S tease of what’s yet to come by showcasing an uplifting new tune ‘Dawning’ that doesn’t take long to be won over by the crowd. With the band in the midst of mixing their second album, perhaps they are readying their audience for a forthcoming single. The follow-up to a well-received debut album often makes or breaks a band. But if their storming live performances in the space of a few days are anything to go by – from the intimate Plug venue to a massive festival crowd at Y Not – then these young Australians are absolutely deserving of making it big time.
By Sean Lilley