By Nicole Fitzgerald
What: Outdoor Concert Series
Who: The Beautiful Girls
When: Sunday, April 22
Where: Skier’s Plaza
Canadian border security prevented three-time World Hot Dog Ski Champion Glen Plake from reliving Blizzard of AaaHhh’s moments at Words and Stories Sunday at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.
While a sold-out crowd warmly welcomed the humour and history from Somali poet K’Naan instead, the chance to witness Plake’s infamous Mohawk live was a loss.
Bands know the story of border-turn backs all too well. But for Australia’s Beautiful Girls, the boys’ run in with the U.S. border was a blessing in disguise.
“We stumbled upon a gathering of American robots with badges on and a picture of their president on the wall,” said Beautiful Girls vocalist Mat McHugh from his home in Australia. “It should have been no big deal, but they searched our car for about six hours and then banned our tour manager for 10 years. We had visas, but our keyboard player had the wrong one and instead of refusing him entry on visa irregularities they decided to charge our tour manager with importing illegal aliens. A felony. I love America, but the government and its robots suck ass. We got to go home and make our record instead, so it ended up pretty good.”
The Beautiful Girls will be playing from their new album, Ziggurats , on the Outdoor Concert Series mainstage on Sunday, April 22 in Skier’s Plaza. The Aussie blokes will also play later that evening at Dusty’s Bar and BBQ in Creekside.
“I think the new album just sounds a little more energetic,” McHugh said. “The rhythm section is different, so I guess that bares some of the responsibility. Really it’s just another 10 songs and every song is different to each other anyway.”
Different is the key to what these beautiful boys seek to attain, no matter how many times the group is pigeon holed into roots music or likened to greats such as Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. Ziggurats challenged the musical shapeshifters to flirt with everything with reggae to post punk nodding to influences such as The Clash and The Police.
“There are still elements of reggae and acoustic music in there. I guess in a way, I was trying to get away from being pigeonholed as a ‘roots’ act. I don’t even know what that means really, but I don’t like the sound of it,” McHugh said. “There’s so much music out there and to keep making the one style of song over and over again, I believe, would be the death of me. Every single album you just try and realize the sound that’s in your head.”
While the Aussies have played every big kangaroo fest, the group made a global mark on the music scene with the release of their debut album We’re Already Gone , which received multiple Album of the Year Award nods. In addition to Australian, Africa, European and North American tours, McHugh, bassist Clay McDonald and drummer Bruce Braybrooke also toured Japan, sharing the stage with Coldplay and the Foo Fighters.
So what is next on the Beautiful Girls’ agenda?
“Well since we just made a new record, I guess that means we’re gonna be touring for the next tour years,” he said, laughing. “I don’t want to think about it.”
The festival mainstage show, between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., is free. The evening show at Dusty’s is $20. Advance tickets available at Dusty’s and ticketmaster.ca.