New Zealand’s indie pop sweethearts The Beths swept through The Big Apple with a super sweet sold-out show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, that turned out to be a triple bill of pure perfection. Like many in attendance this night who were recent converts to super fandom to this fresh up-and-coming band of charmers, I had just picked up The Beth’s first LP Future Me Hates Me a couple months ago, and I quickly fell hard for their enchanting hooks. I was unable to resist when I saw they were playing an upcoming show, and I quickly jumped aboard the fan-freak bandwagon. The show turned out to be one of the best I had been to in quite a while, as all three bands playing this night complemented each other so perfectly that it really elevated the pure joy of the night’s adventure.
Starting off the show was DC’s power poppers Bad Moves who were to perfect fuse to light off the night. They had a splendidly upbeat energy that kept things moving and shaking, and the whole band switched lead singing in rapid-fire manner, but bassist Emma Cleveland really stood out with a radiating warmth and charm, although they all had splendidly unique offerings to the complete ultra-catchy 80’s pop-rock loving sound. Their debut album from last year called Tell No One blew me away with a tornado of fun and fuzzy energy, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing this band again soon.
Next was the Minneapolis band Bad Bad Hats who enchanted the crowd with an easy-going Midwest charm and a mystical elixir of deeply rich and magically hooky sounds. They already have a wealth of material under the indie belts and have a rather loving fan base, so much so that there seemed to some confusion among the crowd of exactly who was headlining the show, as many were clearly serious fans that knew all the words to their songs. They already have a couple real indie-loving hit songs as well, but after seeing them for the first time, it’s clear why they’ve attracted so much love. Lead singer Kerry Alexander has a shyly charming sense of humor that can really disarm you, and the songs are so damned catchy they can feel hypnotizing. It was clear there was a certain depth below the air of child-like wonder of their songs, and I caught some strong impressions of Camera Obscura and Belle and Sebastian dreaminess in their glowing acoustics. They just released an impressive album last year called Lightning Round, but they are already playing new songs as well, so I’m expecting to hear some more hit singles coming down from the north like a formidable storm front on indie awesomeness.
The Beths’ rise to indie worship has seemed surprisingly sudden, but in truth all three bands have only been properly playing for only a couple years, but this band feels as though they’ve really taken off like a brightly burning rocket. They did attract some attention for their debut EP Warm Blood back in 2016, but their first full-length album from last year is so insanely catchy they have proven to be impossible to ignore, with each song proving to be more beguiling than the last. Frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes looked out in amazement of the packed sold out room many times during the show, and she even made mention of this sudden change, as she recounted how she liked this show more than last time they played NYC, as this time there were actually people in attendance. Bassist Benjamin Sinclair and drummer Ivan Luketina-Johnston really keep the beat loose, while her high-school pal and now boyfriend Jonathan Pearce scorches on guitar. There is a lingering darkness to the lyrics that always sail through a gale-force wind and warm up-tempo song structures, and it’s that dichotomy that makes the music all that more bewitching. I’m surprised I didn’t catch on to this impressive outfit earlier, but I’m glad I got to catch them play a smaller venue before they are bound to fill much bigger places in the very near future.
Article: Dean Keim