Concert Review: The Beths @ Songbyrd Music House (10/14/18)

The Beths
The Beths (Photo Credit: Mason Fairey)

It’s a rule that when a band from New Zealand comes to the Songbyrd Music House it will sell out, right?

Well, it sure seems like it because The Beths came all the way from Auckland to DC for their OE and gave the packed house an excellent time on Sunday, October 14th. Touring for their debut indie rock album, Future Me Hates Me, they performed 11 songs in total, including 9 (of 10) from the album.

After the college-aged openers (Nowadays) performed, The Beths kicked off their set with the fuzzy guitars and sunny sounding “Future Me Hates Me”, that lyrically wants us to learn from our mistakes.

The Beths met studying jazz together in varsity* (university) and are Elizabeth (Liz) Stokes (guitar and lead vocals), and three blokes, Jonathan Pearce (guitar and vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass and vocals), and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums and vocals).

Shortly after they played the clap-happy, “You Wouldn’t Like Me”, while mid-way through they gave us one of my favorites, “Little Death”, which starts slow before going full tit* (fast) and accentuates Liz’s offbeat voice and their high energy pop-punk sound.

I’ve had a chance to listen to the full album a number of times now and I really enjoy the melodic hooks, distorted guitars and syncopated beats that are imbued in each song.

Things I learned during The Beths show:
* New Zealand’s Bird of the Year was just announced. The winner is the fat kererū pigeon, with its tiny green head. Which seems like appropriate banter when playing at a place like Songbyrd.
* Jonathan Pearce finds it ‘very embarrassing to have too many guitar solos’ (jokingly, so not really). Liz wondered if they could do without any, but the crowd wasn’t on board.
* I like the name of their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, now I’m thinking of ways to make my future me angry.
* I like when Liz or others spoke between songs, with their full on Kiwi accent.
* Lots of people like The Beths. Many of them have beards and flannel.

To round out the main set, “Less Than Thou” reminds me a lot of an Irish folk song, and “Happy Unhappy” is a lyrical journey of ups and downs, in and outs, and collectively my second favorite of their songs.

For the encore, they played “Not Running”, to give the happy crowd their best and last chance to dance and tap in time to the beat.

Head to your favorite music delivery system and take Future Me Hates Me for a few spins (or whatever direction suits you).


Future Me Hates Me
Uptown Girl
You Wouldn’t Like Me
Great No One
Warm Blood
Lying in the Sun
Little Death
Less Than Thou
Happy Unhappy

Not Running

* You won’t whinge if I include slang from New Zealand in this post? 

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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