Review and Images by Jonathan Taylor
To celebrate the release of the DMAS critically acclaimed MTV Unplugged Album, which features stripped back versions of the bands singles and album tracks from their two albums ‘Hills End’ and ‘For Now’ as well as a superb cover version of Madonna’s hit single ‘Beautiful Stranger’, the DMAS take to the stage in the Night & Day Café in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter to perform a short acoustic set to a small gathering of fans who were lucky enough to secure a wrist band whilst ordering the album from the iconic music store Piccadilly Records.
It is testament to the band that the que of revellers were lining the pavement outside the Night & Day Café way before the doors to the venue were due to open, all keen to get pride of place in these intimate surroundings, which speaks volumes of the love and admiration that this band from Australia has on British soil.
The stage which is lit with retro desk lamps and a minimal spot lights all lend themselves to create a real sense of calm on this Tuesday night. This illusion is smashed as the Tommy O’Dell, Johnny Took and Matt Mason take to the stage. The explosion of appreciation for the band quickly transforms the atmosphere to that of a beautifully chaotic Saturday night.
The set opens as it does on the ‘MTV Live Unplugged’ album with a stunning stripped back acoustic version of ‘Feels Like’ from their debut album ‘Hills End’. The tone and softness of Tommy’s vocal makes for an incredibly emotional rendition of this up tempo album track and the crowd crammed into the space in front of the stage are captivated and are hanging on every word. This is followed by ‘In The Air’, the first single from the second album. The crowd with hands reaching to the heavens sing along and the band are clearly moved by the sense of unity this track brings amongst this gathering of people in front of them. ‘Lazy Love’ is next followed by another fan favourite ‘Time and Money’. In wonderfully stripped back version of ‘The End’, Tommy yet again shows the tenderness to his vocal during this lyrical masterpiece which is backed by Johnny on acoustic guitar and Matt on keyboards. One of the stand out tracks of the bands second ‘Emily Whyte’ follows and the crowd continue in full voice reciting every word. The set draws to a close with ‘Lay Down’ another up tempo track on the debut album ‘Hills End’. A track that usually sparks the pulling of pins from flares and the launching of half full plastic pint glasses during the opening first few chords. With the layers stripped away this track performed acoustically in contrast is something of incredible tenderness and real melodic beauty.
Though the DMAS are from the warmer climes of down under, the music they produce is certainly in parts inspired by the musical tapestry of the greats from the city of Manchester. That musical influence is certainly prevalent and at large is down to the bands success here in the UK. Though tonight’s performance was brief and early doors, it was magnificent and the fans who were lucky enough to be gain entry to this intimate acoustic performance at the Night & Day Café, without question go home on a Tuesday night knowing they were part of a privileged few who experienced something incredibly special.