Some musical eras seem to live on forever, The Merseybeat era, 60’s Detroit, Britpop but few are as current in the present day as the Madchester sound which is undergoing a renaissance, not least through the endeavours of DMA’s who played a sold out show at The Asylum on Saturday 15th December 2015.
Unfortunately I never did visit Manchester in the 1990s but being at a DMA’s gig is probably as close to finding out what it was like as I’m going to get.
All the way from sunny Australia to an extremely cold and wet night in Hull, the band didn’t show any sign of weather fatigue although they did keep their top coats on indoors which as my granny and yours used to point out is a sure way of ensuring that you don’t feel the benefit later on.
DMA’s played a gig at The Adelphi last year which has already attained near legendary status and the step up to a larger venue is clearly paying off. The Asylum is packed. Getting to and from the sunken stage area is a real challenge and everyone seems to be really up for a big night. There’s plenty of singing and chanting and general exuberance before the band take the stage and when they do they are greeted by a hail of plastic cups full of liquid of various varieties. The presence of a cocktail bar on the premises means that this is the first gig where I’ve been hit by a strawberry daquiri.
Their set evokes memories of the classic era of Brit Pop – Oasis and The Stone Roses are obvious influences but whatever 90s indie-ish band of the era you care to mention the DMA’s seem to have absorbed and reprocessed them, and their expansion from a studio trio to a touring six piece means that they have the muscle to take the place by storm.
It’s energetic stuff, particularly on the big crowd pleasers like Warsaw, the Jamesish In The Air and Time and Money which has more people standing on chairs then I’ve ever seen at a gig before. They’ve got more than one string to their bow however and they let people take a rest from the boisterousness with some of the most sweetly melancholic pop you’ll have heard in a long time. Step Up The Morphine, a tribute to Johnny Took’s grandmother and The End both have the crowd standing in almost reverent silence before the band let rip and the place goes mental again.