Hungry Kids of Hungary

with Them Swoops and The Preatures

Why the Hungry Kids of Hungary should have realised that The Preatures would be a dangerous support act:

1. The Preatures are good.
2. They are really, really good.
3. Maybe not better than the Hungry Kids of Hungary, but but very, very close.

When a support act drums up as many cheers and ‘yews' from a crowd as the headlining act, it should be an embarrassing state of affairs. That’s not entirely what happened when The Preatures supported the Hungry Kids of Hungary at the Hi-Fi in Sydney, but it was pretty damn close.

But first, let’s take a moment to touch base with Them Swoops – the first of the indie-pop injection for the night. Playing to a headcount of around 20 is sheer bad luck, but it was a blessing for those who arrived early. The small crowd were treated to the lads’ full and enthusiastic attention. Them Swoops have fast become a fave of the triple j mob, and they’re getting attention in the States. They're a ‘watch this space’ kind of band.

Fired up, flirtatious, soulful and rock n roll-full, Sydney siders, The Preatures, are fast steering themselves towards big things, but moving away from the shadows of being a support act, should be their first port of call.

Isabella Manfredi – The Preatures’ black-maned beauty on keys – has come a long way since I last saw them perform in Sydney. She’s grown with the confidence that exposure and airplay brings, and there’s now a knowing glint to the gaze she casts over her audience. She’s intriguing, albeit a tad ice-cool. As her sultry vocals waft over what the band terms their ‘goth-soul’ sound (I’m leaning towards throwing in another pop-indie reference here, too), her voice marries gloriously with Gideon Bensen’s gutsy and full-blooded twang.

You don’t need to hear anymore about this band right now, because soon enough, they're all you'll be hearing about. They will be everywhere.

Aside from some reverb issues and meandering banter (or was it stalling?) from Dean McGrath, The Hungry Kids’ of Hungary’s indie-pop was on-form, and the taste they gave of You’re a Shadow, proved that they’re still master musicians, who can craft near perfect pop.

The new tracks, however, were delivered in long runs and the crowd’s lack of familiarity with the work, saw the energy in the room drop - something that didn't seem to be noticed by the band. Tracks off their first album Escapades fared much better, and not surprisingly, ‘Wristwatch’ was a favourite, infecting the Hi Fi with a mass of bopping heads.

The Hungry Kids of Hungary weren’t in bad shape, and this isn’t necessarily a bad review. There’s just no way around the fact that The Preatures might (and that’s a BIG might) be just a little more hungry for success.

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