The Beths are the kind of band that teach you how to pogo through heartbreak. And that was certainly the vibe when the New Zealand harmony-laden power pop quartet played a sold-out show at Eraserhood’s Underground Arts last Thursday, February 24th. The basement venue’s capacity-crowd hopped, bopped, and chanted along with the band through a 16-song set while rain and slush poured down on a crisp Philthy night.
Just weeks previous The Beths released “A Real Thing,” their first new song since their sophomore LP, Jump Rope Gazers dropped in the summer of 2020. The song embraces a mix of bubblegum emo and the kind of mopey-yet-upbeat indie rock that the Empire Records kids would’ve loved, as frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes muses about the possibilities of hope in a hopeless time. The track came a quarter of the way into their set, sandwiched between sunshine punk numbers “Great No One” and “Happy Unhappy,” both off of the band’s 2018 full-length debut Future Me Hates Me.
Although the set didn’t exactly contain any “lowlights,” the undeniable highlight of the evening was “Little Death,” the band’s most anthemic track, which kicked off the last fourth of their set and easily could’ve been “buzz-worthy” on MTV in 1994. And while Underground Arts isn’t quite “intimate,” it’s still a long way from Ortlieb’s and Everybody Hits, both of which the band played in 2018. But these songs, perfectly tailored for fun-loving music nerds, are clearly destined for much larger rooms. I’m guessing their next area appearance will at least be at the 1,300-capacity Union Transfer. But, until then, check out the band’s first-ever live album and concert film; Auckland, New Zealand, 2020; released last year by Carpark Records.