DMA’S bring The Glow to concerts comeback
Just before the world changed in March, Australian rock trio DMA'S played their biggest-ever headline show.
It wasn't in their hometown of Sydney, or any of the other rock institutions dotted throughout the Australian concert circuit.
It was at the O2 Brixton Academy in London, in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 5000 singing, sweaty British fans who vastly outnumbered the Australian expat crowd.
Last week, DMA'S - Tommy O'Dell, Matt Mason and Johnny Took - announced their largest Australia tour, graduating from the theatres they sold-out off the back of their 2018 second album For Now.
The Australian tour in September and October next year will be the first time the band will perform the songs of their third album The Glow to an audience since its release in July, when it debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts and reached No. 4 in the UK.
And while they have performed scene-stealing sets on the main stages of the country's biggest festivals including Splendour In The Grass, Falls Festival, Groovin' The Moo and this year's Laneway shows, The Glow national tour in 2021 will be their first headlining concerts since 2018.
"I didn't realise it's been so long since we've done a proper national tour in Australia," Took says.
"It's kind of crazy to think of but I guess it makes sense now because we've spent so much time focusing on the U.K.
"As a kid growing up in Sydney, it's always been a dream of mine to play the Hordern Pavilion, and hopefully sell it out, so maybe it's a bucket list thing I can tick off."
The band estimate they spent more than 200 hours flying back and forth between Australia and the UK this year.
Their popularity among rock fans there was kickstarted by a ringing endorsement from their No. 1 fan Liam Gallagher, who labelled them "biblical" after hearing For Now and took them out on his UK tour late last year.
Comparisons between DMA'S and Oasis were struck with the Britpop sound of their 2016 debut album Hills End, but successive records have broadened their sonic palette, most notably with the electronic-driven approach of The Glow.
Ironically, it was an emotive, stripped-back cover of Cher's dancefloor anthem Believe for Triple J's Like A Version which propelled the band to viral fame in 2017 and continues to win roars whenever they bust it out live.
As they did as part of the all-Australian line-up for the pre AFL grand final entertainment in Brisbane in October.
That was another bucket list moment for DMA'S, according to Took, despite the poison chalice the football grand final entertainment sets tend to be for Australian artists, who face online trolling from fired-up haters before they've even completed their performance.
Just to play that eight-minute set, which featured their single Criminals and a new version of Believe, the band spent two weeks in quarantine in Canberra so they could travel to Queensland.
"We didn't look at too much of (the hate). We picked those songs for a reason - Criminals was our single at the time and Believe is our most streamed song ever, so on paper, it made sense," Took says.
"It was curious for people. I would have preferred to have played the full band version of (previous single) Life Is A Game Of Changing or something like that because I think that would have been super-vibey. But I still think we did well.
"And it was great to be a part of it, it was a great experience."
While many artists around the world have delayed album releases or tour announces throughout 2020 because of the pandemic shutdowns, DMA'S haven't stopped doing performances.
They appeared on the groundbreaking virtual Music From The Home Front concert on ANZAC Day, performing a stunning version of the Crowded House anthem Better Be Home Soon.
They joined the line-up of local artists showcasing their new stuff on The Sound, the new ABC live music series spearheaded by Michael Gudinski.
Took also expanded his creative horizons by writing songs with other Australian artists online.
But most remarkably, the band were the first to be the crash test dummy for a COVIDSafe gig.
They played a massive 18 Unplugged & Intimate shows to a seated audience of live music-starved fans in Sydney through July and August and took the show to Brisbane for another six gigs in October.
Took is quick to point there was not one case or cluster of COVID-19 to result from the concerts, suggesting live entertainment gatherings aren't the potential superspreaders governments and health advisers fear them to be.
"There was a sense of pride because I know we were one of the first bands in the country to announce shows," Took says.
"And I think there was a lot of people quite hesitant about releasing music in COVID and putting shows on and the fact that we followed all the protocols and did 18 of those shows in Sydney and not one COVID case is something I'm proud of.
"I feel like doing those shows kind of gave a little bit of confidence back to the industry and the music venues which is another part of it that I thought was pretty cool."
Tickets go on sale for The Glow tour on Tuesday.
DMA'S perform at Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide on September 24, Fremantle Arts Centre on September 26, Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane on October 2, Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne on October 8 and Sydney's Hordern Pavilion on October 9.
Originally published as DMA'S bring The Glow to concerts comeback