Live: Hungry Kids of Hungary @ the Corner Hotel – 26/4/13

Memorably-named Brisbane quartet Hungry Kids of Hungary embarked on a tour of the east coast last month, having found a clear focus and direction on their sophomore album You’re a Shadow, released in February. The perfectly harmonised vocals and catchy sixties-influenced indie-pop melodies, which are signatures of the band, are still there; but the groove, energy and musicianship with which their new songs are delivered makes them all the more pleasing to listen to.The band had no trouble replicating their newfound confidence and attention to detail live; as they steer the audience through new material — such as “Sharpshooter” and “When Yesterday’s gone” —, it seems everything about their show has been meticulously crafted to maximise the audience’s enjoyment. They didn’t neglect lifelong fans, however, rewarding them with early hits “Set it Right” and “Scattered Diamonds”.From the light bulbs above the stage twinkling in sync with the beat of every song, to Kane Mazlin (keyboard) and Dean McGrath’s (guitar) voices blending so effortlessly and seamlessly they never need to look at each other, this is a group that knows exactly where they’re going with their show. Every member is so tight and well-versed in what they have to do, in fact, that the second guitarist seems out of place slashing at his instrument and grooving about the stage. Not that this detracts from the performance; I can’t recall one song where people weren’t bopping, clapping, singing or tapping along, such was the quality of the song writing and the relationship the band struck up with the Corner Hotel audience. A drum-and-bass solo midway through gives the equally noteworthy rhythm section of Ben Dalton (bass) and Ryan Strathie (drums) a chance to let loose, but generally, the entertainment is defined by each member keeping themselves in check, making the show more about the group than the individual.This selflessness continues right up until the end of the show, when for the encore the Kids play a cover of “Feels like we only go backwards” by Tame Impala (who also played in Melbourne that night) and get the two opening acts on stage for a grand finale performance of “Let you down”. You have to hand it to them; these guys really do all they can to make sure everyone has a good time at their gigs.Having again proven themselves experts at developing innovative and complex albums, Hungry Kids of Hungary have also established themselves as masters of the live performance — two virtues that must surely mean more widespread respect and success awaits the band as their career continues. by Alexander Darling

May 6th 2013
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