The Beths


Gorilla is sold out for The Beths tonight. We arrive a little later than most and the crowd is already one pensive mass of energy and anticipation. Managing to find a corner at the top of the stairs, we have a clear view of the whole scene, the stage and audience. Jackpot. It is the perfect reviewing vantage point, just outside of the ‘no go zone’ staircase patrolled by the bouncer.

The Beths’ debut album Future Me Hates Me is fast and electric. Energetic guitar pop at its finest. However, the first tracks tonight miss out a lot of the guitar, with the sound engineer opting instead for a thumping kick drum. It destroys the explosive energy put into the live version of the title track, played as the opener tonight. You are left to imagine the sound via the visual aid of frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes’ dynamic guitar strumming during the song’s finale. Jonathan Pearce’s peppy guitar solo in ‘Whatever’ also has to be seen as an interpretive dance. All blame lays on the engineer for this subdued sound though, and in spite of this, the show is fun and the sound issues are mostly resolved a few songs in.

The band is a wholesome experience from start to finish. Still appearing endearingly awkward in between songs, despite coming to the end of a massive tour. They shine bright during lively song performances. Their cohesive harmonic singing is perfect during ‘River Run: Lvl 1’. Drummer Tristan Deck has been a wonderful addition to the band’s line-up. His chilled style is fun to watch, especially as other band members go full pelt for songs such as ‘Uptown Girl’. Even the most vigorous snare fills are laid back.

The music is simple enough to be supremely catchy, without being overly formulaic. ‘Running Away’ is a buzz of musical intensity and hopeful, absorbing lyrics. It showcases the beautiful writing and singing by Stokes, but also the impetuous basslines by Benjamin Sinclair that set the band’s danceable pace to a high.

It’s hard to pick a favourite song by The Beths. Every song is a delight. But the encore track, ‘Little Death’ has inched its way to the top of my Spotify Most Played. The first jangly notes are met with the biggest cheers of the night. However, with low volume on the guitars plaguing the set, even this is unfortunately not quite enough to heat the inanimate crowd to more than a zealous head bob.

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