Friday, October 12, 2018

Live Shows: The Beths, Atwood's Tavern, Cambridge, MA 10/10/18

Photo by Ken Sears
Atwood's Tavern is one of those venues that you know what type of music you're going to hear when you walk in the door. It's become quite possibly the go to venue for Americana/roots music in Boston and even if you don't know the band, if you're in the mood for some country or folk, you can hear that at Atwood's any night there is a band playing.

Anyone walking in off the street Wednesday night looking for that would have been severely disappointed, but probably not for long. The Beths, one of New Zealand's finest indie rock bands, came to town to play the 85 person venue. My love of their recently released album Future Me Hates Me made me expect to really enjoy their show, but I was completely blown away. 

For a band that only released their debut album this year, The Beths have perfected the art of playing tightly enough to be good but loose enough to have fun. And I think that might be the secret of the band: The absolute joy they exude while playing their sad songs that sound happy. It's completely infectious, and the crowd was beyond pumped to
Photo by Ken Sears
be there and seemed to already know every single song the band played. The other secret weapon of The Beths is guitarist Jonathan Pearce. While the rest of the band (Elizabeth Stokes (vocals/guitar), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals)) are playing together, Pearce seems to be playing off in his own little direction, quietly playing these beautiful quiet melodies that and up accentuating the songs.

And the songs. Just about every song The Beths played could be a huge hit single. Look at the first three songs they played. "Future Me Hates Me" is as catchy as anything you've heard in the last ten years, "Uptown Girl" has that manic feel that gets your attention, and "You Wouldn't Like Me" has the best handclaps you've ever heard. But it's "Little Death" that could make The Beths superstars. On Future Me Hates Me it's easily one of my favorite songs, but live the song takes on a whole new intense feel. The chorus of "And I die I die a little death" is somehow designed to be an audience shout along once the band starts playing summer festivals. Plus, the instrumental bridge is just epic.

Do yourself a favor and see The Beths as soon as you can. It will be impossible for them to keep playing 85 person venues for much longer, if they ever do again.

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