Performance review: Teeny Tiny Stevies, Sidney Myer Music Bowl

ARIA award-winning children's band perform outdoors to a delighted audience of young and old(er).

The last time I walked into the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, it was to farewell our friend and music icon, Archie Roach. I was reluctant to go back to a place so full of sad memories, but for a three-year-old with a Teeny Tiny Stevies obsession, I put my big girl pants on and off we went to their sold-out show. 

Once the band had taken the stage and I’d seen the set-up, I was filled with dread. It was just the two Stevies, sisters Bethany ‘Beth’ and Sibylla ‘Byll’ Stephen, a bass guitarist and a drummer. And an Auslan interpreter. A screen behind them showed some of the familiar animations from the ABC Kids show, but it was a pretty sparse set-up. How would they keep a Bowl full of kids entertained for a whole show with no razzle dazzle? No fireworks?

Well, that just goes to show how little I know about kids’ entertainment because the band rocked out, the kids went bananas and absolutely no one was bored for even a minute of the hour-long show. 

There was something markedly different about this kids show; it genuinely felt like a rock ‘n’ roll gig with training wheels. There was no dancing on stage, no mascot-style animal costumes, no distractions. 

It was just the band, the songs, the lyrics and the kids. Maybe it was the queue for the merch that almost every kid seemed to be wearing? ‘That sign says merchandise. It’s where you buy the merchandise, but if you’re cool, like us, you call it “merch”,’ said the giggling mum behind me to her five-year-old, as we waited in the queue.

Maybe it was the fact that everyone was being fuelled by something other than excitement, but instead of pints, cocktails, wine or anything else, the morning’s poison was hot jam doughnuts and chips (the kids) and large, strong coffees (the parents and chaperones). 

The Stevies, who also have a folk band aimed at older audiences called The Little Stevies, have musical chops. They write their own music and lyrics, play several instruments each and have soaring, though gentle, vocals. Unlike many of the kids music acts doing the rounds, it’s as much about the music as everything else. 

Kids were up the front of the stage bouncing around from before the first note was played, though the two highlights were surely ‘I Ate a Rainbow’ and ‘Boss of My Own Body’.

Tickets were priced at just $25 – much more accessible than a lot of the kids gigs doing the rounds. The Auslan interpreter was excellent, but quite far off to the right, meaning that in such a large venue anyone sitting on the far left may have struggled to see the translations. This could be rectified by a minor adjustment in future.

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Ultimately, we walked out of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl having created a raft of new, joyous memories. A bunch of kids, lost in the music they love, which happens to come served with a hot steaming side dish of empowerment, learning and love. 

Teeny Tiny Stevies
Sidney Myer Music Bowl

The Teeny Tiny Stevies performed on 12 February 2023.

A veteran journalist, Isabelle Oderberg is a comedy fanatic and has been reviewing comedy for six years. She also reviews restaurants, opera and theatre.