Live Review: Hungry Kids Of Hungary, The Preatures, Them Swoops, Little Odessa

23 April 2013 | 12:12 pm | Martina Barlington

When proceedings wind down with final encore Coming Around, there’s an air of unabashed triumph. Uplifting – and infectious.

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A last-minute addition to tonight's bill, Brisbane's Little Odessa perform admirably to tonight's early onlookers. Given their relative youth as a band, their songs are impressively constructed (though their musicianship suffers the occasional flubbed note). Their indie-pop/garage rock aesthetic, meanwhile, gels nicely with the classicist sounds of tonight's bill.

Melbourne's Them Swoops tread a similar line; reminding one of bygone eras while still retaining a certain radio-friendly gloss. In contrast to their predecessors, they draw on a wider range of era – from '90s guitar rock to '60s pop and '80s post-punk. Such is their songwriting, their sound can withstand a lot of experimentation and their set is made more entertaining by the detours (weird synth loops, psychedelic guitar blasts) that punctuate their noisy, kinetic productions.

Sydney's The Preatures are more contained. Built on ghostly grooves and rumbling vocals, their sound is sensual and almost sepia in its reflection of '60s/'70s fetishism. Isabella Manfredi's vocals have a rawness and potency often overlooked by modern singer-songwriters. Thomas Champion and Luke Davison, on bass and drums respectively, represent a rhythm section of almost archaic muscle. Still, what's most striking about The Preatures' set is not their '70s flavours – but their almost terrifying stage presence. Unshakeable confidence. So stalwart, it's unnerving.

Hungry Kids Of Hungary actually betray a similar confidence when they finally take to the stage. Once indie-pop wunderkinds, Hungry Kids Of Hungary currently showcase a certain tensile strength – tearing into opener What In The World with a relaxed, muscular swagger that is both engaging and inspiring. Previously, Hungry Kids have been a songwriters' band. Their sets more defined by exceptional tunes rather than exceptional performances. Tonight's different.

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Road-hardened, Hungry Kids' performance tonight is world-class and bears all the hallmarks of a band coming into their own. The musicianship is incredible. Swooning, multi-part harmonies swirling around razor-sharp rhythms in cuts like Wristwatch; low-slung grooves rolling along amiably in newer productions like Memo. There's a showmanship to proceedings that feels well-rehearsed but uncontrived – drummer Ryan Strathie's solo is an indulgent moment that the audience nevertheless clamour to embrace.

The combination of the group's already-stellar songwriting and newfound confidence as performers makes for an unstoppable event. Subtler numbers like Litter And Sand and Do Or Die simply soar in the environment. When proceedings wind down with final encore Coming Around, there's an air of unabashed triumph. Uplifting – and infectious.