Last Friday we headed over to The Triffid to see Mat Mchugh & The Beautiful Girls on their absolutely massive tour of the same name, combining the two longstanding and well-established projects for the very first time. This was an absolute treat, especially considering it’s been over three years since Mat played a show as a result of Covid-19, this combining of the projects itself coming from a bit of post-covid reflection, with Mat explaining,
“I kind of kept them separate for a long time live for various reasons. I saw them as two separate bodies of work, but at the core of it of course they’re basically the same thing. I mean, I make these records at home and play most if not all of the instruments on them, and so, after this past three years, I thought, ‘You know what? Part of this whole deal of recalibrating and getting back out on the road and seeing people and sharing music was just kind of stepping forward and joining the two bodies of work for the first time.’
“It’s a good healthy step forward and it allows me the luxury of just picking and choosing the best of all of it. I’m very, very proud of the music I released as The Beautiful Girls and I don’t want to stop playing it because I love it. It means a lot to me. This is a way of tying all those songs that people know, and people love, together so I get to release music in a way that feels honest and has integrity.”
With the two projects combined, there was obviously a pretty extensive discography to choose from, but they handled this flawlessly, blending them together with a well-chosen mix of favourites from both. Having The Beautiful Girls playing on Mat McHugh songs too added this new level of richness to the music, and was executed perfectly in the show.
Asher Beau opened the night up, and I will be eagerly awaiting the release of his music. He’s got this groovy, easy-listening feel, which was so perfect for the vibe of the night. He was joined on stage by Daniel Khoury on keys, and despite their only being the two of them up there they made the room their own with huge stage presence and a great rapport with the crowd.
Asher’s sunshine-filled reggae fusion instantly elevates your mood- a particular highlight of his set for me was a super cute song called ‘Diamonds’ that he wrote for his girlfriend.
As soon as Mat set foot on stage I could totally see why he has this avid fanbase that travels around Australia from show to show- the atmosphere was so friendly and chilled out, and Mat himself had the nicest personality and a real connection with his fans. He talked to everyone in the crowd in between songs, sharing anecdotes and occasionally apologies- for the long wait between shows, and his sore throat last time he was round, promising to make it up this time.
And while I’m sure the last show would have been great regardless of what he said here, he absolutely followed through on the promise of a great night.
Everyone in the crowd was in their element and the enjoyment was so palpable. Mat’s music is at times pleasantly mellow, this gorgeous blend of genres including folk, rap and soul that created something totally unique that really resonated with the swaying, singing audience.
One of the biggest hits of the night was The Beautiful Girls song ‘Dela’, which had the entire audience singing along, as well as, of course, coastal cult classic ‘Go Don’t Stop’. The entire band was fantastic throughout- playing in a really unified fashion with the confidence that comes from experience and knowing you’re a solid act- it felt like a big giant jam we’d been lucky enough to observe.
As the night wrapped up, I was pulled out of the nostalgia-inducing, summer-infused dream that they’d soundtracked for the last hour and a half, with hopes for another tour to keep the good times going.
The Mat McHugh & The Beautiful Girls Tour