GIG REVIEW: The Beths, The Brightside, Brisbane, 10/10/2019

The Beths

Words by Eden Campbell

Photos by Hannan Paul of Shot By Hannan – Full gallery HERE

This Thursday night saw The Brightside packed to it’s rafters in anticipation for The Beths and their illustrious support acts, Vladik and Major Leagues. Following the cancellation of The Smith Street Band’s tour, of which they were the main support, The Beths made the conscientious decision to push back their headline shows from March until October. So to say that their fans were eager to see The Beths in full swing, is a massive undersell.

Opening the night, we heard from the Russian born and Sri-Lankan raised Vladik. The imagery that she invokes in her lyrics, coupled with her hazy down tempo pop instrumentals ensnared the senses and drenched us in an ooey gooey atmosphere. Harnessing elements of soul and RnB, Vladik’s soothing sounds are what would happen if Lauryn Hill released a lullaby album. Vladik closed her set with her breakthrough single Sleep – a track that’s garnered a fair bit of attention from Triple J and Unearthed stations. Sleep has big Winston Surfshirt vibes and was a personal highlight for me.

Vladik

Major Leagues, a Brisbane four-piece who describe themselves as “garage pop” followed on from Vladik. Major Leagues are no strangers to the Brightside and confidently took to the stage to an eagerly awaiting crowd. Comprising two guitars, bass and drums, the band’s catalogue of music wanders from chill, summery meanderings to vibe-filled melancholy.

Opening their set with their popular 2013 single Silver Tides, their drummer provided a rolling, driving landscape upon which dreamy vocals floated. Their two guitarists (with one doubling on main vocals) provided an intertwining backdrop of chords and textures. Lead guitar darted in and out spanning a range of vamped, clean, pretty melodies to shoegazey tones. Rhythmically, the band played a tight and consistently entertaining set – if you have not had a chance to check out Major Leagues, I would strongly suggest you do so!

Major Leagues

The Beths stepped onto the stage, glistening in their signature nonchalant coolness. With a sort of authentically raw yet seamlessly polished staccato, the Auckland-based collective began. These ramshackle rockers originally met at a Jazz college years ago and decided to see how they would gel as a band – A short time later, and after a wave of sold out national and international tours, it’s pretty clear that the ‘gelling’ thing worked out in their favour. The main observation I made throughout The Beths set is that their laid-back aesthetic diametrically opposes, yet somehow adoringly compliments their very tight playing.

Straight off the bat, the sickly sweet and fuzzy chord progressions of their debut album’s namesake Future Me Hates Me had the crowd wriggling around like madmen. A few moments after the opening track had concluded, The Beths start interacting with the crowd and gives the space an undeniably warm and homely feeling. Albeit knowing that Future Me Hates Me is what many gig-goers have come along to see, as the night presses on, its painstakingly clear that The Beths are much more than one-hit-wonders. Front woman Liz Stokes handled most of banter with the audience, and although at times she seemed a little awkward, it all came together as part of the band’s charm and candor.

This charm and candor transcends their recordings into their live shows. Tracks like You Wouldn’t Like Me display a sort of vulnerability that could’ve been very easily been lost in translation, but was performed just as compelling and naked as the day it came. The crowd lapped it up, too – as soon as that hypnotic drumbeat came in, the audience all feverishly clapped along.

 Happy/Unhappy was another one of my personal highlights, as I stood in awe of Stokes’ verbose quick phrasing – a trait that she definitely saved for her singing. In the moments between songs, the band somehow managed to appear both stoic and chirpy.

Lead guitarist, Jonathan Pearce handled his Goldtop Les Paul like he was born with it strapped to his body. Pearce made every song look effortless. Licking colourful solos and flirting with feedback left, right, and centre – this guy really knows how to play – and sing! Pearce and bassist, Ben Sinclair both have an incredible set of pipes that drove every song home. The Beths always centre around rich vocal harmonies, and the boys delivered from the onset and throughout. In Whatever, Pearce and Sinclair’s voices harked back to the 80’s and 90’s with choruses ringing out like something you would hear by The Proclaimers or Supertramp, with Stokes’ ethereal switches between her head and her chest voice sounding similar to The Cranberries.

Catch The Beths on the rest of their Australian and New Zealand tour!

SAT 12 OCTOBER
Badlands Bar Perth, WA, Australia
WED 16 OCTOBER
Decline Singapore, Singapore
SAT 2 NOVEMBER
Blue Smoke Christchurch, New Zealand
FRI 8 NOVEMBER
San Fran Wellington, New Zealand
SAT 9 NOVEMBER
San Fran Wellington, New Zealand
SAT 16 NOVEMBER
Hollywood Cinema Auckland, New Zealand
SUN 17 NOVEMBER
Hollywood Cinema Auckland, New Zealand

Tickets available HERE.

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