The beachside town of Brunswick Heads endured more than its fair share of out-of-towners last night to help The Preatures launch their keenly received new album, Girlhood, at The Sails Motel.
Not that the folk of Brunswick Heads itself weren't well represented; a couple hundred locals also turned up — most late enough to actually stall the start of the show by about half an hour but, hey, that's Brunswick time for you — to join the party at the promise of a high-quality live music show in the motel's open-air courtyard.
Once the crowd had grown to sufficiently impressive size for a northern-NSW town on a Thursday night, we were greeted by a young Arakwal woman named Nicola, who welcomed to us to country and explained the historical significance of the surrounding lands before the Sydney band took the stage.
After greeting their enthusiastic audience, The Preatures launched straight into Girlhood's opening title track, all four of the band's core members operating with the kind of gusto and professionalism you'd usually expect to see at gigs much larger than this. Moving into fan-favourite Somebody's Talking, from 2014's Blue Planet Eyes, they made it clear early on that, although this is well and truly Girlhood's show, they were not about to deny those who've come out to see them at least a smattering of familiar material.
Three extra members — two backup vocalists and a keyboardist, all clad in black — soon joined the band onstage to flesh out the soundscape as the band launched into their recent single I Know A Girl. The Preatures' natural charm and endearing banter came to the fore when frontwoman Izzi Manfredi asked bassist Thomas Champion, "Tom, what's this song called?" to which he responded: "It's called Mess It Up, because I always mess it up."
The driven, infectious Nite Machine had the crowd well and truly in The Preatures' thrall, before the slow burn of Magik (Manfredi kindly pointed out the spelling to the audience — probably not for the benefit of any attendant music journalists, but still, helpful) gave us a little room to groove and breathe.
The band's anthemic, feelgood new single, Yanada, followed, earning cheers of recognition from the crowd and amounting to one of the evening's standout tracks. It was clear that Manfredi and her collaborators put a lot of heart into creating this conscientious tune, and she seemed more determined than ever to ensure it was delivered with panache.
With that, Manfredi wryly noted that it was time for a couple older tunes to round out the set, and the band delivered in a big way with a standout rendition of Better Than It Ever Could Be — Champion's bass riff seems extra-funky in the flesh — before closing out with (what else?) Is This How You Feel.
In all, the outing was a thoroughly celebratory — if somewhat short, by usual standards — affair, buoyed by its novel location and the evident joy for the locals of seeing a band of this calibre, at this stage in their career, come right to their doorstep. We were stoked to have been able to experience it.
The Preatures' Girlhood is out today via Island Records. The Music travelled to Brunswick Heads as a guest of Universal Music Australia.
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