Live Review: The Beths at The Slowdown…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:33 pm July 16, 2019

The Beths at Slowdown Jr., July 15, 2019.

by Tim McMahan,

Crowded it was last night at The Beths show at Slowdown Jr., not a sell-out but certainly a packed room consisting, strangely, of one of the older crowds I’ve seen at any recent indie show. I wasn’t the oldest one there, by a long shot. I’m not sure why so many older folks were drawn to the show except that The Beths have been getting a lot of airplay on Sirius XMU, and these people looked like the type who have satellite radio in their SUVs.

I pushed up to the front of the stage next to the front door and leaned on the ear-plug gumball machine (two ear plugs and a Jolly Ranchers for 50 cents) and flipped through my phone, waiting for the band to get started when up walked Elizabeth Stokes, looking slightly irritated that I was leaning on the machine. I moved aside and she bought a pair of ear plugs, which would vex her the rest of the night (taking them out, pulling them back in, finally tossing the little yellow foam bits).

The band climbed on stage right after the purchase and tore into “Great No One,” the lead track of their latest album, Future Me Hates Me. Stokes center stage with guitar and microphone has a voice that is slightly more withdrawn than what you hear on the record. The sound guy did his due diligence and brought her up in the mix. She wasn’t one to belt out the verses, her style melodically soft-spoken and just right for a set of songs charmingly self-referential and self-deprecating.

Powering through the set was lead guitarist Jonathan Pearce supplying focused solos that rocked without getting in the way. The band played like a family unit, maybe because they’re all New Zealanders stranded in this very strange land together. Stokes pointed out that Omaha may hold the record as the location they’ve played that’s furthest away from any ocean. Pearce said it was something he considered looking up after the show except that it would ruin the joke for the next town, so maybe not. Their between-song patter was like Flight of the Conchords with Pearce as Bret to bass player Benjamin Sinclair’s Jermaine, which I guess left Stokes in the role of Murray.

Anyway, the band played through most of Future Me… and also rolled out three or four new songs, which they said are destined to be on a new album they’re going to record when they return home in September. The best of the bunch was a tune with a repeated chorus of “Don’t go away,” which had a surfy Beach Boys vibe perfectly suited for a Brian Wilson-style “ew-wee-oooo”…

The band closed with Future Me raver “Uptown Girl” and encored with “Little Death” before unplugging their gear. Great night of music.

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