The Beautiful Girls in Sydney – Review

beautiful girls

Ruth Hodge was at The Metro Theatre for as The Beautiful Girls appeared to Sydney as a vision for good things to come on Friday night, accompanied by up-and-comers Bobby Alu and The Pierce Brothers:

Hidden behind a sea of topknots and beards, Bobby Alu took us outside of the bustle of the metropolitan mess of Sydney’s CBD and humbly plucked at his guitar before introducing layers of beats and stories of his heritage into the mix. It was like watching my (albeit nonexistent) first love strum along to the songs of his heart, lulling me into a sense of awe and had me preparing my wedding vows in the Notes app on my iPhone.

The Pierce Brothers, again, were impressive in their musical capabilities, which often we are taken away from when we hear them only over the radio. I had heard their music but assumed they were another band until seeing them live. Brother 1 pulled out a didgeridoo rocking it one-handed whilst extending his other to the mouth of Brother 2, holding a harmonica. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking Brother 1?” “I think I am, Brother 2. It’s ‘Impressing All the Ladies’ time!” And impressed we were. Smitten, even. But the boys I really came to see were, of course, The Beautiful Girls.

I was impressed with The Beautiful Girls. Not just because their music was good, not just because Mat McHugh has this presence on stage as if he is acknowledging the audience but also completely oblivious to them, dancing to his own tunes (literally). It was because, behind the hype and disappointment (for some) of their new album and new musical direction, they’re able to, in a live show, perform old hits without compromising what they now want to be known for. Even to the point that whilst they performed “Blackbird”, it was rewritten to suit the mellow synth of their new sound. It was like saying “yeah I know some of you are here for one song/to get with a hot indie chick, but we’re not just bowing out easily and playing old favourites without doing it our way.” It was like a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down in a way, but I have to say that the new version of “Blackbird” had a lot more flavour and spice to it. Sugar, even. Following their social media, it has been interesting to see people say things to the tune of “so glad The Beautiful Girls are back!” to which they have extensively replied “we didn’t realise we ever left?” To that, I say, of course they never left. Maybe they were having a cheeky siesta after grooving about and have awoken, brushed the sand out of all those hard to reach places and have gotten ready for the next journey to the next town to again bring the house down.

Tracks from the new album were a stand out, however, as people began to sway and squeeze their way through air pockets of dance floor space, smiling at each other, unperturbed by free-flailing arms and spilt drinks. For that reason, The Metro Theatre was perfectly laid out for a gig like The Beautiful Girls, because, as their new album title suggests, these are the Dancehall Days and no one should be sitting. Despite the large crowd, it still felt intimate and gave a sense of the night being all yours. And it most certainly felt that way.

ruth hodge


Review by Ruth Hodge. Photo stolen with love from Bobby Alu’s Instagram.