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Hungry Kids Of Hungary Live at The Corner Hotel

A few songs into Ball Park Music’s set and I was on the verge of pulling all my hair out. The Brisbane indie-pop group may exude plenty of energy and possess some catchy melodies, but it’s all harnessed erratically and nonsensically... ending up too playful for its own good.
 
What’s worse is the kindergarten drivel that the band pass off as lyrics. Even if the punters appeared to be having fun, they were more likely to remember Ball Park Music for their quirks. But even the launching of a plastic arrow via toy bow into a band member’s head was less than amusing.
 
The word on Melbourne indie-rock duo Big Scary is spreading swiftly and headline bands can depend on the pairing of Tom Iansek and Jo Syme to draw in a strong early crowd. With their skilfulness and impassioned fervour, Big Scary are often a thrill to witness live. The main test for them now is to continue on their upward trajectory, artistically. They’re gaining fans quickly, but it mustn’t restrain them from solidifying their distinctive craft and experimenting with that eclectic sound further. Tonight’s performance was stock-standard in comparison to their earlier gigs, which were far more urgent and emotive.
 
Palm tree balloons were the primary stage decoration for the launch of Hungry Kids Of Hungary’s debut album, Escapades. Simple but effective, the stage really did resemble Escapades’ cover art – comprised of photos taken in California’s Venice Beach and Santa Monica. First single and arguably the band’s finest song to date – Wristwatch – was an early highlight. Incredibly infectious and bursting with vibrant textures, it’s a testament to the Brisbane band’s flourishing pop inclination. Vocalist/guitarist Dean McGrath also introduced fans to the group’s “best friend and touring member”, Remy Boccalatte.
 
Hungry Kids Of Hungary showcased their wide palette of pop influences through the tonal and aesthetic shifts demonstrated by songs such as the falsetto-driven retro sounds of You Ain’t Always There and the Vampire Weekend-invoking Scattered Diamonds.Eat Your Heart Out was rapturously received, No Returns was a little too pensive and ethereal for some, whileChina Will Wait provoked much flamboyant dancing with its glam-rock/extravagant epic-pop propensity.
 
It was reassuring to hear Old Money live as it was somewhat disappointing to discover its absence on Escapades (considering its obvious status as one of the band’s finest songs) – its live performance captured the chemistry between McGrath and keys-genius Kane Mazlin poignantly.
 
When Hungry Kids Of Hungary returned for their encore, they were joined by members of Ball Park Music and Big Scary for their final songs. Known for their performances of interesting covers, tonight was no exception as they delivered a highly energised rendition of Weezer’s Buddy Holly.
 
The band closed with one for their loyal fans, Two Songs – the opening track from their Mega Mountain EP. Evidently flattered that their album launch in Melbourne sold out, McGrath reasserted his gratitude to the audience, ardently. Hungry Kids Of Hungary may not be much in way of profundity, but they do prove that good vibrant pop music is not without real soul or a little heartbreak.