Review & Photos: G. Rossington.
It is safe to say that the future of female fronted indie pop is in safe hands at the moment. In the shadow of the likes of Maisie Peters, Dodie, The Big Moon, Rory and more, Beth McCarthy is the latest to be leading the way for a revolution. Headlining a small run of ‘Sold Out’ intimate dates across England, tonight is the opening night of the tour in the compact, hot and sweaty Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham.
Opening up proceedings tonight are Carpark. The trio made up of Scottie, Hattie and Loda, they have recently completed their own debut UK tour, released a string of singles to wide acclaim and set to release their next single this summer. The saunter through the crowd and launch straight in to the dreamy ‘The World Ended In 2012’. Clearly the young audience had been doing their homework as they were singing along with the band throughout. The upbeat ‘Not The Perfect Start’ comes next and is subsequently followed by the debut of a new song ‘M.I.A.’ The song has a vibrant and rocking undercurrent that goes down well with the already almost capacity room. This then paves way for a rendition of their forthcoming single ‘Suburbs of Hell’.
The first of two tracks where bassist and vocalist Scottie removes her bass to leave just drums and guitar to carry us through. The song is spunky, wild and has echoes of classic 70’s punk. If the recorded version is anything like the performance, this could be one that garners them more attention. ‘Don’t Know Why We Met’ comes next and again takes us down the dreamy audioscape of softer guitars and gentle drums, driven by a groove laden bassline. There is an issue with a capo that means they have to drop a song from the set, but they take things up a gear with another punky gem, ‘Blow Me Outta The Water’. Having won over the majority of the room, the girls leave us with another bass-less track ‘Don’t Want You’. Scottie is twisting and twirling herself around the stage and her and Hattie end up in almost synchronised headbanging with their hair flying all over. One word: epic! They make their way back through the crowd after unpacking their equipment ready for the main act tonight.
Within the next 12 months, it’s fair to say that Beth McCarthy will not need too much of an introduction. For the moment though, hailing from Yorkshire, the young starlet who has risen to fame via an appearance on TV’s The Voice as well as going viral with her own song on TikTok arrives onstage to an onslaught of cheers and whoops of delight from the young fans at the front.
Backed by a drum pad filled with triggered beats and basslines and a real life drummer, Beth is dressed completely in her trademark pink outfit, picks up the guitar and launches excitedly in to a rendition of ‘What Do You Call It?’ which is greeted by a sea of voices echoing her every word.
‘No Hard Feelings’ and ‘Friendship Bracelet’ follow and are treated to the same reaction, which at times actually drowns out Beth’s vocals – but who are we to blame anyone for singing along at a show?! Throughout the entire show, Beth is direct in her words but incredibly funny with it – something about that Northern charm for sure! She has bags of energy and when she’s not singing and playing guitar, she is prowling the small stage from left to right, jumping around, leaning in to the audience and the young fans’ phones recording her every step.
Mid way through the set, Beth appears with just an acoustic guitar alone on stage to play a song from before she released anything, the gorgeous ‘What If I Never’. The song shows off an incredibly vulnerable side to her personality as well as showcasing the impressive voice everyone has come to love. If you didn’t already love Beth, then this alone would make you fall for her.
Prior to ‘You Ruined Love’, McCarthy tells a story about how adorable her fans are, signaling that she’d left a “confessions” type box at her merch desk to which one of the younger fans runs through the crowd and up the stairs to go and get it for her. For the shows, she had asked anyone to put down on paper their version of what ruined love for them, the best one would win a piece of merch, tonight it’s a mug.
She spends a few moments going through some of the answers to which the room has a giggle with her. It seems that tonight’s’ crowd has had a lot of two-timing we shall say, but the winner is the lady who’s date turned up and proceeded to run through a whole production of magic tricks. Some light-hearted entertainment for a Monday night there.
We get a sprightly cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ as well as the live debut of her next single to be released after the next single, ‘First, Best Hottest’ to which she comments she is not looking forward to explaining that one to her parents. ‘She’s Pretty’ sends the audience in to a frenzy as the final number and there is even the beginnings of a little mosh pit raging in the middle of the crowd. Beth leaves the stage running through the audience returning a minute later for her encore.
As the strains of ‘She Gets The Flowers’ starts up, Beth is handed a bunch of flowers from an audience member who had snuck their way close to the stage to hand them over, a very cute moment. The song is a battle between her and the fans over who is the loudest, and on this occasion, again, the audience win. The ultimate final song of the night is the new single and the first to officially promote her debut album. ‘I Don’t Know How To Talk To Girls’ is greeted like an old friend amongst her fans and as if the room couldn’t be anymore sweltering in temperature, it outdoes itself. By the end of the track and Beth making her way to the back of the room, the smile on everyone’s’ faces is clear to see. A true superstar in the making and let’s hope there are more dates in the non-too-distant future as Beth McCarthy is on a mission.