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The Beths at Live at Leeds – Festival Review

The Beths
Photo Credit: Frances Carter
Words: | June 6, 2023
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The Beths

Taking on influence from contemporaries Alvvays and Bully, The Beths have evolved from loveable Kiwi newcomers to the scene to an established mainstay of the alternative indie scene. The release of their third album ‘Expert In A Dying Field’ saw them receive yet more acclaim from critics. On the back of this, there is no rest for The Beths with festival appearances in between busy European and US tours. This included a stop on their UK leg at Live at Leeds.

In the mid-afternoon, The Beths to the stage alongside the giant inflatable haku fish head. First up was the title track of their debut album ‘Future Me Hates Me’. The trademark sound of the band is singer Elizabeth Stokes’ thick New Zealand accent rising delicately over the fuzzy intricate guitars. They displayed this perfectly in their popular ode to the fear of falling in love.

Watching The Credits

Piercing through the shade of the Rolling Stone big top tent next was the aching chorus of “The shame, I wish I was brave enough to dive in. But I never had been and never will be. I’m coming in hot then freezing completely” from ‘Knees Deep’.

Then in a further exploration of their back catalogue, there was the gentle guitar lead of ‘Out of Sight’ from 2020’s ‘Jump Rope Gazers’. Following this was the latest stand alone single ‘Watching The Credits’. It included the Strokes influenced rhythm guitar and driving drums they’re now well known for.

Silence is Golden

Variance in dynamics is strength that not many bands have. But the gentle verses of ‘I Want To Listen’ provided a gentle relief. Following immediately was the grungey riffs of ‘Head in the Clouds’ and then the country fusion of ‘Jump Rope Gazers’.

After joyously strumming through ‘When You Know You Know’, the highlight of the set was ‘Silence is Golden’. The lead single from their latest album juxtaposes its frantic noise-rock influenced guitars and stabbing drums with pleading vocals begging for relief from over stimulation. ”Instead it’s white noise, sufferingly loud, it’s wearing me down, I’m up to my ears in it”. The catchy muted guitar filled chorus will stick in the head of anyone in the vicinity.

Expert In A Dying Field

The reason that this song was the highlight of the set was because of the absence of their usual set closer ‘Expert In A Dying Field’. The title track of their latest album demonstrates The Beths at the peak of their song writing abilities. It features a typical earworm chorus and winding melodies. However there had been a previous delay at the stage. This caused The Beths to take to the stage later than scheduled. As a result, they were unexpectedly instructed to leave the stage as they were preparing to play the set’s finale.

With a frustated and resigned wave to the disappointed crowd, The Beths left the stage. However, with plenty of shows to come in 2023 including more UK festival dates, the desire for a complete Beths live show can be resolved soon enough.  

Sam Campbell
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