A week of stunning, sunny weather across Exeter and the UK meant Exeter Phoenix was a glowing place to visit on a Tuesday evening – and not just because of the assembly of sunburns. A couple hundred eager music fans aggregating in one of Exeter’s favourite music venues, anticipating the arrival of Sydney’s newest up-and-coming three-piece; forming a troupe made up of die-hard fans, Phoenix regulars, and folk who have come to see what all the fuss is about with DMA’s.
Warm up group RedFaces – a fourpiece garage pop band from Sheffield – were a particularly impressive way to get the evening started. It was clear from the off that the group were loving every second that they were on the stage, making the most out of their opportunity, and this infectious energy was replicated by the crowd. Their songs were well written, impressively performed – particularly the rhythm and bass coupling Charlie Yapp and Isaac White – and a full-on assault from the beginning; exactly what the crowd was hoping to hear from the group they were supporting. Although not having a substantial opportunity to showcase themselves in such a short warm-up slot, their musical ability was clear to see, however not much evidence of song variety; albeit, again, difficult to achieve in a compact period.
Their lack of thrills, stage show, and variety may have been a slight reservation to some of the audience, however, the vast majority of the crowd could not care one jot
After a brief interval, the much anticipated DMA’s nonchalantly took to the stage, following some strange entrance music to signal their arrival. Normally the three-piece, regulars Tommy O’Dell, Matthew Mason and Johnny Took were also joined by touring members Joel Flyger, Thomas Crandles and Liam Hoskins – crowding the already small Phoenix stage with 6 musicians. Kicking off with the instantly full-blown ‘Feels Like 37’, a throwback to their eponymous first EP released in 2014, the tone was set for the rest of the night – a full-on barrage of Britpop-inspired performances that got the eager crowd going from the very start.
Despite some early feedback from the microphone, frontman Tommy O’Dell’s vocal performance and understated-yet-encapsulating movement throughout the night was superb – giving the crowd exactly what they came to hear. Despite very little interaction with the crowd – slightly disappointing for a close-knit venue – O’Dell and his gang had them going from the get-go. Their lack of thrills, stage show, and variety may have been a slight reservation to some of the audience, however, the vast majority of the crowd could not care one jot – they got exactly what they came for: 6 very talented young and upcoming musicians replicating their back catalogue fantastically on stage.
The tunes ‘Step Up The Morphine’, from their successful debut album, and their first single ‘Delete’ were particularly well-received by fans. Ending on arguably their biggest hit, ‘Lay Down’ from their first album, it was a great, energetic conclusion to a thoroughly enjoyable gig. By the end, the crowd were moshing, getting on each other’s shoulders and moving like any good rock gig should allow – they were loving it. Although an out-and-out rock gig with little variation may not appeal to some, it was exactly what the crowd wanted at Exeter Phoenix.