Music Reviews

The Beths @ Rock City

New Zealand’s latest prospects charm Nottingham with a glistening set of quirky indie rock. 

Following the release of debut album Future Me Hates Me in August 2018, Auckland-born The Beths have gained huge international following credited to their ability to produce intelligent yet humorous and effortless rock music, laden with guitar and witty one-liners from vocalist and guitarist Liz Stokes.

Whilst their home nation’s neighbour, Australia, has been gaining swathes of attention thanks to its blossoming rock scene, The Beths have managed to emerge from Auckland with a cult-like following and the potential to be New Zealand’s next great international export since Lorde in 2013. Having already supported the likes of The Kills around Australia and New Zealand, the four-piece began 2019 with the incredible opportunity to support iconic Californian rock outfit Death Cab For Cutie on their UK and European tour.

As The Beths took to the Rock City stage, a large crowd had already amassed before them in anticipation of the evening’s entertainment. The instantly catchy ‘Whatever’ was the catalyst to draw the attention of everyone in the room towards the stage, whilst ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me’’s swaying melody interchanged with an effortlessly simple chorus destined with the sole purpose of being embedded inside your mind.

“The Beths’ unique and charming personalities quickly came to the forefront”

Despite appearing shy at first, The Beths’s unique and charming personalities quickly came to the forefront of the show, with Liz delivering small quips and local anecdotes about their lives in New Zealand, whilst clearly ever-grateful for the opportunity to play at the iconic British venue before Death Cab For Cutie.

Jonathan Pearce’s brooding guitar on ‘Not Running’ was swiftly pushed to one side as Ivan Luketina-Johnston’s delightful drum fills projected around the venue. Both Pearce and bassist Ben Sinclair combined perfectly in the track’s lengthy ending section, which contained enough space for Pearce’s technical ability to shine through in the form of his guitar riffs.

“The Beths looked like a band ready to conquer bigger challenges”

On stage, the chemistry between the four members was clear but not unsurprising. Having formed in 2015, the band were already comfortable around one another having spent time studying jazz together at the University of Auckland. As ‘Happy Unhappy’ and ‘Little Death’ provided further evidence of a band now so comfortable performing, ‘Future Me Hates Me’ was the highlight moment of their set. Liz Stokes’ confidence is perfectly balanced with enough composure to make a technically difficult track look effortlessly simple in reality, and as ‘Uptown Girl’ brought their show to a close, The Beths looked like a band ready to conquer bigger challenges.

The Beths are a band you want to be friends with. They look unabashedly cool throughout the duration of their set, provide comedic one-liners to make you chuckle longer than you’d expect to, and deep down are deadly serious, yet humble, about their desire to make good music. The challenge of opening for such an iconic band, at an iconic venue didn’t worry the four-piece at all. In fact, they approached the situation in a very workmanlike way. From humble beginnings in Auckland to the opportunity opening a European tour, The Beths are a band ready for greater things. With a string of big festival dates in the future to come, don’t expect the momentum to shift away from Liz Stokes and co. in the coming months.


Ben Standring

Featured Image courtesy of The Beths Official Facebook Page.

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