Mat McHugh Walking

Mat McHugh – Waves

Having recently recovered from a serious spine injury, Mat McHugh returns to Cairns to perform at The Tanks Arts Centre on Saturday 9th July, showcasing songs from his latest album ‘Waves’.  Known as the creative force behind The Beautiful Girls, the multi-instrumentalist McHugh has always worn his heart on his sleeve, an adventurous performer who can effortlessly move between styles such as acoustic folk, reggae, roots and electronic dub to name a few.

After countless shows in Cairns at The Tanks over many years, Mat McHugh has high praise for the truly unique venue.

“Tanks is amazing. It’s a big call but it’s probably my favourite place to play in Australia. The crew are so cool and dedicated, it always sounds amazing in there and it’s always nice and warm when we come up. Sound plays a huge part of my valuation, and it does sound really good in there. There’s a lot of love behind the venue. It’s a really great place”.

Following up from his 2012 release ‘Love Come Save Me’, McHugh followed suit  offering his third solo album ‘Waves’ , again as a free/name your price album through Bandcamp.

“It just felt like a good thing to do. I never wanted to be a musician as a job, I play music and I’m a musician, as I always have been, but when I left school I studied design and wanted to do something in Art. It sort of inadvertently happened, I played a few Open Mic nights and a song got on radio and the opportunities presented. So I did the best that I could with the opportunities I was given. I was never one of them kids that would be on Australian Idol or anything like that. Because of that I feel like a lot has been gifted to me in a way and I know that a lot of people do struggle in life. So with ‘Love Come Save Me’ and ‘Waves’, I put more heart and soul into them albums then any before, so I thought they are the ones I should be giving away. Because I gave them everything; which I think balances out the universal energy overall, cause if you receive a lot I believe you should give too”.

Having written, recorded and released what he considers his best work ‘Waves’ in mid-2015, McHugh embarked on a huge national tour which was subsequently cut short after feeling increased discomfort in his spine following a show in Newcastle. Doctors diagnosed him with a massively raptured disc in his neck and chipped bone in his back, which ultimately cancelled the remaining 2015 tour. Warned that the injury could see him lose mobility, doctors recommend surgery which he refused seeking alternative options. After an increased lay off and intense rehab, McHugh played a series of shows lately with The Beautiful Girls, with himself restricted to vocal only duties while his injuries still recovered. Now finally getting the opportunity to tour ‘Waves’, Mat is back on the road and with his guitar while he performs across the country.

“I was a bit scared and a bit nervous, when I finally got to play guitar and surf again. It was baby steps and I had to really play close attention to how I was standing and how I was holding the guitar. I was pretty rattled to begin with which happens when you have a serious injury. It’s sort of like post-traumatic stress in a way”.

“Going into it (the tour) I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t stood with a guitar strapped around my neck for 6 to 7 months. I go to a place that does spinal decompression and I’ve worked on my diet and cut out processed foods and drinking, so I’ve been working pretty hard on it. I’m pretty lucky, touch wood. It was looking pretty horrific at the start and they were saying that I would need surgery, but fortunately I didn’t believe them and found other methods. There’s lot of other things that I’ve changed but its feeling good and holding up really well. But I’m really lucky and this tour has done it wonders.”.

Mat McHugh performs at The Tanks Arts Centre on Saturday 9th July. Doors open 6.30pm. Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from Ticketlink. Support from Rhodesia.

Download Mat McHugh – ‘Waves’ at

Mitch Sullivan

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