THE BETHS – EAST STREET TAP, BRIGHTON 10.11.18
Superb up-and-coming New Zealand indie four-piece The Beths are made up of Elizabeth Stokes (guitar and vocals), Jonathan Pearce (guitar and vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass and vocals) and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums and vocals).
The guys channel their longtime friendship into high-energy guitar pop with a smart lyrical bite. Primary songwriter Stokes and guitarist Pearce attended high school together before meeting up with longtime mates bassist Sinclair and drummer Luketina-Johnston at the University of Auckland, where all four studied jazz. After gigging together in a variety of configurations, everything clicked, and The Beths were born.
Their debut 5-track EP, 2016’s ‘Warm Blood’, overflows with explosive guitar riffs and infectious indie-rock hooks. Produced by Pearce and featuring all four members on joyful vocal harmonies that recall the best 60s pop, tracks like ace lead single ‘Whatever’ and impossibly catchy standout ‘Idea/Intent’.
Their truly superb debut 10-track album, ‘Future Me Hates Me’, also produced by Pearce, is a slab packed with killers and not fillers – every track is great! Honestly they are! With my personal fave ‘Little Death’ being the pick of the bunch. This CD has been permanently lodged in my car stereo since it’s launch a number of few weeks back – I just can’t get enough of their catchy tunes.
Thankfully for me, I clocked that The Beths were headed for these shores and playing a mini-tour that included Brighton. These days we usually have a clash of gigs, as let’s face it Brighton is THE place to be! Tonight there was another clash, but one that worked out perfectly for us.
We were already down to review The Blinders in town and The Beths gig clashed with that. But as the East Street Tap is such a compact venue, The Beths easily and quickly offloaded their ticket allocation and thus they astutely added an additional matinee show. So it was now possible for us to enjoy The Beths earlier 6:15pm performance and then literally walk around the corner to The Haunt to catch the three bands playing there from 7:15pm! Happy Days!
Amazingly enough, despite being born in Brighton, this was the first time that I can recall having stepped foot in the East Street Tap. The building sure has bags of character, but it was a bit of a nightmare in trying to absorb the atmosphere of the building as it was rammed full of people drinking downstairs and gig punters queuing for the concert which was to be held upstairs.
We made our way up to the first floor and it’s tiny compared to the likes of Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, so I suggest that this won’t be an ideal replacement for that venue when it shortly closes.
The Beths equipment was ready to go in the corner but there was no sign of the band. Then suddenly they materialised through a door that I hadn’t initially noticed and then we were off – high energy guitar time!
I immediately became aware of how accomplished the bands harmonies are as a number of times all four members were singing in unison during their eleven song set. A set that thankfully for me contained no less than nine of the ten tracks on my ‘Future Me Hates Me’ album, with only the unusually titled track eight ‘River Run: Lvl 1’ being omitted. The other two songs completing the set, were to be found on their 2016 ‘Warm Blood’ EP. Although having said that, I have realised that the tune ‘Whatever’ is found on both releases.
I had luckily rooted myself at the front and thus was able to absorb the bands energy and have a little banter with them. I believe that it’s fair to say that after every number, the crowd were more than appreciative, as let’s face it, The Beths have got what it takes. This is something that Marc Riley from BBC Radio6 has picked up on as the band had been invited into the studio four days earlier in order to play a live session.
After their wonderful set had culminated with my fave track ‘Little Death’, it was time to grab a few words with Elizabeth Stokes. She informed me that they will be back in the UK in January and February 2019, as they have been invited to go out on a 16 date UK and European tour with American alternative rock band Death Cab For Cutie. However, sadly there is no Brighton gig scheduled, but the nearest will be London on 1st February, which is rather tempting!
This was a fab start to our night of music and now we were off to The Haunt. Read our review of that gig HERE.
The Beths setlist reads:
‘Whatever’, ‘Future Me Hates Me’, ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me’, ‘Idea/Intent’, ‘Less Than Thou’, ‘Lying In The Sun’, ‘Not Running’, ‘Happy Unhappy’, ‘Great No One’ (encore) ‘Little Death’
Find out more about The Beths here: https://thebeths.com/