by Norm De Veyra
New Zealand indie rockers, The Beths, rocked The Fillmore last weekend with a maxed out crowd in attendance. Lead singer, Elizabeth Stokes, stood center stage and kicked off the show with “Future Me Hates Me,” the raucous titular track from their 2018 album. Bassist, Benjamin Sinclair, posted up stage left with drummer, Tristen Deck, situated behind him. Shredding it up at the opposite end was guitarist, Jonathan Pearce. All the while a giant fish head loomed large over the band upstage.
Some additional set dressing would have been nice to fill out the large, sparse stage and shrink the space between each member to add a bit more to the total visual experience. Nonetheless the group powered through and followed up with “Knees Deep” from 2022’s Experts in a Dying Field to build up further momentum.
In between songs the group celebrated, Ben’s birthday, half-jokingly promoted their tour breakfast review blog, and asked the audience to name the onstage fish. I missed what San Francisco ultimately decided but was told the night before the fish had been named Cameron Diaz.
That charm and dry sense of humor easily won over the evening’s sold-out crowd, but the band was at its best rocking out during their more energetic and hard hitting tracks like “Uptown Girl” and “Silence is Golden.”
One particular three song stretch midway through the show that started with “A Passing Rain,” transitioned to “Best Left” and then concluded with “Dying to Believe” was a definite highlight.
These tracks showcased Stokes’s sweet vocals backed by more driving instrumentation. Offering an addictive juxtaposition that has become The Beths’s signature sound. A sound that has certainly grown larger and more ambitious since I first stumbled upon the band at a random SXSW day show in 2019. What hasn’t changed since then, though, is the topnotch energy and chemistry that they continue to deliver.
Singer-songwriter, and fellow birthday celebrant, Sidney Gish, opened the night.