November saw the Australian trio, formerly known as the Dirty MA’S, finally fulfil their long-overdue Yorkshire appearance. Like many of their contemporaries, Covid enforced more postponements than a Scottish lower league football programme during a sudden cold snap. Originally set to appear as part of Leeds’ Sounds of the City festival, its protracted cancellation, a slower death than Piper Laurie in Carrie, forced Tommy O’Dell, Matt Mason and Johnny Took to head indoors. Switching their show to the familiar Leeds Academy was not without its problems, the downsized venue requiring them to play an extra date so no one ended up disappointed. Naturally for super-fans, the chance to attend both dates proved a bonus, assuming the odd spare after everyone had done their sums.
Boasting endorsements by none other than Liam Gallagher, not forgetting previous support dates alongside The Courteeners would normally be more than enough to see me heading for the hills. Fortunately, the three Antipodeans have taken the Madchester blueprint, adding a welcome sprinkling of Crowded House-era pop sensibility. The results are derivative, a bit McBusted at times, yet occasionally fresher and catchier than one would admit, the sublime ‘Straight Dimensions’ a case in point.
Saying that, this 20-odd date UK tour will see The Sydneysiders play to the thick end of 50,000 punters, a pretty sizable cult following not to be sniffed at. Tonight, an army of acolytes are out in force and on arrival, we’re greeted by the sight of a lengthy slow-moving queue snaking its way around the side of the Academy as stage time approaches. The besieged box office is dealing with a multitude of ticket related admin issues, as well as the welcome Covid security screening hampering everyone’s access. By the time I’m inside, the clearly audible funky drummer groove of ‘Never Before’ is pounding through the packed to the rafters venue, a dozen or more girls largeing it sat astride someone’s respective benevolent shoulders.
The gathered masses are clearly gagging for this evening’s performance, mainlining on the opening brace, immediately of the opinion that it’s been worth the wait. The core triumvirate, supported by an army of helpers are clearly drilled to death and breeze from anthem to anthem. I have to say the ensemble sounds crystal clear. It’s perfect for the delirious throng to sing back numbers including slow burners, ‘Silver’ and ‘Junk Truck Head Fuck’, which sounds like the entire Oasis back catalogue put through a liquidizer. The DMA’s recent electronica forays including the Hot Chip sounding but nonetheless enjoyable, ‘’Life is a Game of Changing’, hint at a new ravey gravy direction. You could see heads nodding appreciatively like a thousand Oasis frontmen walking abreast en-route to a Man City game … Now then!
We even got an encore, a first for yours truly after three post lockdown gigs without one. Who knows if this registered with anyone else around me as the woozy opening jangle of ‘Appointment’ rang out. Before lockdown, in my experience, gigs without encores were pretty rare so tonight felt like another small step towards normality. At least the already sated throng went home knowing they’d had their money’s worth, the sound of ‘Feels Like 37’ still ringing in their ears.
Words by Michael Price
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