Review: The Beths, live (streamed)

The Beths’ livestreamed concert yesterday showed that even in lockdown, live music isn’t dead. Here’s why it worked, and where you can see other Kiwis live streaming for the next week.

Yesterday at 9am, Liz Stokes put a giant pineapple mask over her head and played the Animal Crossing theme on a trumpet stuffed with cups. Around 10,000 people across the world were watching.

For 40 hectic minutes, Kiwi surf rockers The Beths – Stokes, Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair and Tristan Deck – livestreamed a four-song concert from their Auckland homes. It was perfect.

Musicians have always been able to “go live” on social media, but it’s only been during the Covid-19 lockdowns, quarantines and curfews taking place around the world that livestreaming has become more akin to a concert. The Beths knew that to recreate a live performance for their audience, they needed to provide intimacy. Usually, audience members find that intimacy with each other by moshing, pointing and yelling that “this is my favourite song!” – you can’t exactly do that alone in your bedroom.

So The Beths provided that intimacy themselves. After the first song, ‘Great No One’, Stokes and Pearce – who live together – checked in with bandmates Sinclair and Deck streaming in from their own homes. “I’ve been in the shed a lot,” said Sinclair. He was wearing his hoodie backwards for “Wacky Wednesday”.

Asked by the audience what her favourite chord was, Stokes declared it was F major 7. The Bulletin’s Alex Braae was watching, and confirmed that F major 7 was, indeed, “a goodie”.

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles chimed in on the YouTube live comment stream, asking if she could buy the band a coffee. Other commenters clamoured to know more about the aluminium banana resting atop The Beths’ mantlepiece.

The band acknowledged how many Kiwis and Aussies had got out of bed early to watch the show, which was timed so fans in the US could watch, too. They congratulated us for putting pants on. “If you guys could respect yourselves, so we don’t have to, that’d be great,” said Pearce.

No one was being sweated on or smashed in the jaw by short people’s bouncing heads, and very few of us spilled our beers. Alone in our living rooms, chugging litres of coffee, we had respect for ourselves. We heard a new single, ‘Dying to Believe,’ and imagined a future where we could hear it again in the company of others. After two weeks of lockdown, we needed that. 

New Zealand musicians have been performing live on social media frequently over the past couple of weeks: Merk, Rei, and Anika Moa have all had great lockdown gigs, and we’ll see plenty more coming up. Here are a few you can sink your ears into:

Thursday 9th April (tonight!):

Daffodils is going solo and Alba Rose is chiming in for an early-evening show brought to us by VMorg on Instagram. Start watching from 5pm.

Saturday 11th April

Live in the Lounge is a laid-back afternoon music sesh hosted by Hallenstein’s. Yeah, the clothing brand. Catch a line up including Mermaidens and Josie Moon from 12pm.

Jam on Toast, a Dunedin-based mini music festival, is live-streamed every Saturday night during lockdown. This Saturday, the line up includes Mo Muse, Lime Cordiale, Theia, and Repulsive Woman (live from Manchester). Kicks off at 5pm.

Sunday 12th April

Every Sunday and Wednesday, Spark is showcasing local artists. So far they’ve had Mitch James and Stan Walker, and this Sunday Jeremy Redmore (formerly of Midnight Youth) is having a turn. Tune in at 7.30pm.

Tuesday 14th April

Every Tuesday during lockdown, Rei is going live from his Auckland flat. Tutu Tuesdays airs on his Instagram page and follows him making a song from scratch. Starts at 7pm.

Merk is also going live on Instagram again. Last time, suggestions from the chat helped him come up with Swirlies (feat. Leroy Clampitt). Join the action at 8pm.

Friday 17th April

Nadia Reid is taking things to the next level and hosting a ticketed Zoom event next Friday. Her third album, Out Of My Province, came out six weeks before lockdown and she’d really like to play it live for us. Ticket prices vary according to what you can afford. Register now and log on at 10pm.

Over the 17th and 18th Melted Ice Cream is hosting the cyber festival to rule them all. The gigantic line up from this Christchurch label includes, among many other esteemed names: Marlon Williams, Soaked Oats, Emily Edrosa, Lawrence Arabia, and Lucy Hunter.




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