The thing about The Beths is that there’s very little fuss about anything they do. 11pm sharp, following sets by Bad Friend and Hans Pucket, they gathered on stage and launched straight into the title track from the band’s debut album, Future Me Hates Me. It’s short, sharp indie pop at its best, and for the next hour or so, punters at a sold-out Meow were treated to a non-stop procession of tight bouncy tunes from that album, and a few earlier gems from 2016’s Warm Blood EP.
There might not have been much fuss, with lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes barely interacting with the crowd throughout, save for a few words, but there was an irresistible energy right across the venue, and the first couple of rows back were positively heaving. I felt thankful to be stationed near the rear of the bar and still able to take it all in without subjecting my old bones to any unnecessary Friday night injuries.
All of my own favourites from the album got an outing … ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me’, ‘Great No One’, ‘Happy Unhappy’, and ‘Little Death’, were all terrific without being note perfect replicas, which is just how I like it. They all led to a one song encore, ‘Whatever’, which is fast becoming something of a signature tune for a band enjoying a meteoric rise in 2018.
I don’t think for a moment the band itself would consider this particular gig one of its best, there were some timing issues and a couple of dropped notes, and I wondered aloud whether the vocal mix was all it could have been at one point. But none of that mattered in the slightest, this band doesn’t necessarily have to be right at the top of its game to be one of the very best in the country at the moment.
I’m pretty sure the next time The Beths visit the capital, it’ll be to play a bigger venue asking a lot more than a mere $15 on the door.