DMA’s & Bud Rice @ Divan Orange – May 25th 2015

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I walked into the Divan Orange on a rainy Monday night to a crowd of less then ten people. The orange sofa was nowhere in sight, so I naturally went towards the bar. The first people I met were Bud Rice, Dave Gossage (Guitar) and Marc Beland (Drums). We spoke about this evening’s song selection, which was written on a napkin. I was happy to hear that they were a local band, playing many songs from their debut album, Belfast (reviewed HERE).

The band was joined by Jo Lorgis (Bass) as they performed “Toxic Wonder” (the only song not on Belfast) as well as “Dying to Know”, which is one of the funkier songs from their album. “Meet Me in the West End” features blues influences much like the next song “Maybe Tomorrow”. They ended their set with “Belfast” with its catchy blues influenced hooks.

I spoke with Bud Rice after the show about the Montreal music scene and I asked what neighborhoods are of particular interest, musically.

Bud Rice: The Plateau and the Mile End are where things are most happening musically, and I mean in abundance. Any night you can catch such wonderful & different music that can spike your interest or make you run for the door. The intriguing thing is that it’s going to be different and hopefully new.

Montreal Rocks: How has Montreal influenced your sound and lyrics?

BR: I was born and raised in Montreal so it’s hard to say how the city has shaped me musically. It’s a combination of the great people I’ve met in this city, the boiling summers, the brutal winters, the eclectic musicians that walk around, the shows I’ve seen, and my family. It’s all I have really known, so maybe I have to travel a little more to fully appreciate how much Montreal has influenced me on a subconscious level. I believe it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. There is an energy here that doesn’t exist in the other places I have been, something I crave whenever I am away from home. 

MR: “Belfast”, a great song off the album of the same name, speaks of your Irish heritage.  You speak of the “romanticized man, the Irish insane”.  What do you mean by that?

BR: It’s a reflection on my grandfather Hugh, how he can be perceived after a couple drinks. It’s romanticizing his faults rather than his good traits, but the good traits are the things I try to remember about him. 

MR: In “Who I Am” you speak of “compensation from your scars”.  Do you feel that music, specifically the lyrics, are a way to open up about personal scars so as to let them heal?

BR: I do feel that songwriting is the only outlet for me and what I may struggle with. It is revealing of my personal life, the good and the bad. I don’t feel that the writing process heals any wounds or emotional baggage I may carry, simply just makes them known to me. 

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I enjoyed the set and it prepped the crowd that was slowly swelling for our Australian visitors, DMA’s. I look forward to seeing Bud Rice perform again, a couple of great shows coming up. Find out more at budricemusic.com.

The venue was a little more packed for the headliners of the evening, the DMA’s. I have to admit that I knew little of them before the show, except from this one line from Noel Gallagher when asked if he had heard of the band’s album that sounds like Oasis: “No, I can’t say I’ve had the displeasure of listening to it yet.”

Starting as the Dirty Ma’s, their manager suggested they change the name to DMA’s, so as not to be confused with Mars, when Ma’s is said with a Manchester accent.

I spoke to the bassist before the show, who typed up the set list on my iPhone and he explained that they just arrived from the Boston Calling Music Festival and were able to catch the Pixies perform. They look forward to returning for Osheaga this summer (this show was a Greenland Productions/Osheaga event), as well as performing for Lollapalooza. I shared my Lollapalooza story about going to the second one (Long Island, NY) which featured Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry as well as a little unknown band called Cypress Hill playing on the second stage, Acapella because of sound problems. They killed it.

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The DMA’s started strong with “Feels Like 37” from their self-titled EP. I was right away brought to a distant land, the land of Brit Pop. Yes, Tommy O’Dell’s voice can be compared to Noel Gallagher (without the attitude), but this band’s core is comprised of Johnny Took, Matt Mason as well as Tommy. You can taste some Stone Roses, Ride, and The Verve along with many other influences.

They followed with “Laced”. I believe this was the point where I knew that the 30 or so people who showed up at the Divan Orange were going to say in a few months that they were there when the DMA’s played a small venue like the Divan Orange before they hit it big. It is similar to those who saw Nirvana or Queens of the Stone Age at Foufs back in the day.

Next up was “Your Low” with lyrics such as:
She’s got diamonds caught up her sleeve
That makes a trail just when she leaves
But her diamonds turn to dust
She’s chasing them in the wind

The next two songs were new, “Melbourne” and “Lay Down”, which is super catchy.

“So We Know” started with soft acoustic melodies that evolved into electric. A song about realizing that one has to change after losing out on love.

“Delete” was next, with it’s Coldplay opening, Tommy signing a heartfelt ballad in which he “let it all out” as the lyrics suggest. The Official Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKSWC5r1tYg

The DMA’s finished strong with “Play it Out” which states: “You’re stuck inside of me”. I can’t help think that they accomplished that task. As soon as I got home, I immediately bought their EP ($4.99 on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/dmas-ep/id979638593)

I spoke with Tommy O’Dell after the show. He shared that they signed with the trendy indie label I Oh You before even performing as the DMA’s. Their goal was to work on the songs and perfect them before playing live.

Tommy was actually on drums rehearsing with Johnny Took on bass when Tommy suggested that the song be sung differently…and begins to belt out the song. Johnny realized that he had the pipes and Tommy became the singer.

Divan Orange was one of the smaller venues the band has performed in, considering they sold out their Sydney and Melbourne shows. If this is the quality of acts that will appear at Osheaga this year, I’m more tempted then ever to attend.

Both Bud Rice and DMA’s performed a great show that will soon be legendary, as they both soar to greater heights. A memorable night, that really should have been packed, but was highly appreciated by those lucky enough to be there on that rainy Monday.

Review & photos – Randall Wark

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