The Beautiful Girls played the perfect summer concert when they visited the coast to promote new album release ‘Seaside Highlife’- a collection of favourite chilled out tunes that span across their 20-year career.
With five successful album releases as well as a debut EP, the Sydney roots band had plenty of gems to choose from to create the ultimate retrospective.
Renowned as a three-piece with singer, songwriter, and guitarist Mat McHugh, bass player Ian Pritchett and drummer Paul Derricott, this reminiscent tour saw the band expand to a six-piece lineup adding Shannon Stitt on keys, Nick Garbett on trumpet, and Michael Avgenicos on sax.
These additions added a juicer and richer sound to the already catchy folk-pop, surf-inspired tunes.
Easing the crowd in with their folky reggae melody ‘We’re Already Gone’ and following on with the jiving ‘I thought About You,’ it didn’t take long for this timeless indie band to get the crowd into the groove.
Punters were well and truly warmed up when the band played ‘After All This Time’ featuring the strong influences of Men at Work’s Down Under and continuing on with equally popular ‘The Biggest Lie I Ever Told’.
The band kept it free and easy with lots of funky instrumentals, jungle bass and electronic sound effects thrown in for good measure, combining beautifully with the band’s trademark reggae undertones.
You could often catch the band grooving away in their own world before bringing it back strong with stand out hits such as ‘Long Way Home,’ in which they added a delightful country twang and ‘Spanish Town’ which set the crowd off more, even igniting some ska and shoulder dancing.
The ever-popular ‘Music’ saw huge audience participation and suddenly it felt like we were all sitting around a campfire singing together, not watching a band at a packed out venue.
With a knack for creating heart-on-the-sleeve songs and often compared to like-minded artists as Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, The Beautiful Girls brought it home with a genuine encore asking the crowd what they wanted to hear.
A clear stand out moment was the heartfelt version of 2018 single, ‘Beautiful World’ followed closely by ‘Periscopes’ featuring clever mixing of ‘Roxanne’ by The Police. The emotionally charged ‘La Mar’ completed the set to perfection, leaving the crowd with big smiles all around.
For a band celebrating a good 20 years in the industry, it was clear to see The Beautiful Girls are just as relevant now as they ever were. Thanks for a great gig guys!
When: Saturday January 11
Where: Torquay Hotel, Torquay
Reviewed by Sally Poehland
Photographed by Ben Cook