My first thought as I stand in the queue outside the Guild is that I have potentially missed the dress code. I’m the only one (as far as I can see) without a pair of Adidas Gazelles on. As I step inside the hall itself, I’m immediately transported back to my school days; the room’s fixtures have an assembly hall feel to it – it’s very reflective of the students who make up the majority of the crowd. Not to forget the odd mum and dad in the mix, who’ve probably taken the opportunity to relive their youth through a band so obviously influenced by the Britpop movement of the 90s.
Being a sold-out show, the room is full to the hilt. The atmosphere builds up quickly as the rowdy crowd unapologetically make no attempt to contain their excitement. First to grace the stage is the Spanish post-punk quartet BELAKO. Their effortlessly powerful sound and confident stage presence charges the crowd in the early sequences of the evening. They only serve to heighten the energy as we eagerly anticipate the Australian trio.
Not long after the end of Belako’s set begin the hearty chants for DMA’S. Pints are being chucked, cigarettes being lit – it’s unadulterated. It’s a Friday night, and everyone is determined to have a good time, even at the cost of their bar purchases. At this point we are all well and truly packed in like sardines as the crowd slowly heaves its way closer to the front for a good view of the boys in all their glory.
Then the usual announcement of dimmed lights brings an eruption from the crowd. On stroll the Sydney rockers, casual as you like, with frontman Tommy O’Dell in his signature baseball cap. They begin with the upbeat For Now. It does the job of getting the crowd’s blood pumping.
It’s surprising to find that, despite the band’s cool and calm aura on stage, they still remain a force to be reckoned with, composed and assured, fuelling one of the most enthusiastic crowds I have ever witnessed. Subtly powerful from their presence to their sound and lyrics, the band work their way through the setlist with a crowd belting every word back to them. It’s like the band and crowd are each armed with a tennis racket and we try to serve an ace of energy passed one another. Instead it’s a spirited rally.
Their sound allows the audience to maintain their stamina right up until the very last song, Lay Down. This indie hit causes the crowd to give it their all before the night comes to an end. A cloud of red and blue smoke fills the room as flares signal without a any despair, just celebration. I’m wading through a sea of bucket hats, and waves of people perched up on shoulders, having the time of their lives, soaking up every second of the moment.
As the show finishes and I turned to leave, my feet sticking to the floor with every step, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Aussie lads went above and beyond their fans’ expectations.