From the overflowing balcony sections to the entirely full pit, Music Hall of Williamsburg was packed with indie rock fans on the first night of March. Audience members came from all over the Greater New York City area to see quirky New Zealand rockers, The Beths and their fellow headliner, Minneapolis-based indie band, Bad Bad Hats shred through the esteemed Brooklyn venue. Lilac, rose, and indigo lights set the mood for charming indie love songs before the first band opened the night.
With music about queer crushes in middle school, teen girl squads, and being seventeen, Bad Bad Hats opened their portion of the show with songs from their most recent release. Backed with beats by Con Davidson and riffs from Chris Hodge, lead singer Kerry Alexander’s delicate voice took center stage along with the endearing subject matter. From their 2018 album, Lightning Round, they played infectious indie-pop tracks, “Girl,” “Get What I Want,” “Talk With Your Hands,” and a medley combining their song, “Nothing Gets Me High,” with 2014 Top 40 hit, “(Habits) Stay High” by Tove Lo.
They pleased long-time listeners by including “Joseph,” “Midway,” and the title track of 2015’s Psychic Reader in the setlist. Bad Bad Hats closed their set with “It Hurts,” and “Super America” from the 2013 EP, It Hurts. Anderson gave her onlookers adorable anecdotes in between songs, touching on supermarkets The Buffalo Bills before the next major act took the stage.
"Your smile, it makes me weak, and the red spreads to my cheeks," sang Liz Stokes, lead singer and guitarist of The Beths with a smile. She continued, “You make me feel three glasses in.” Performing songs from their 2018 album, Future Me Hates Me, she was joined by fellow guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair, and drummer Ivan Luketina-Johnston for lovable tracks, “Little Death,” “You Wouldn’t Like Me,” “Not Running,” and “Happy Unhappy.”
All four members of the Auckland, New Zealand-based band contributed harmonized vocals that emphasized Stokes’s sharp, witty, and relatable lyricism regarding young love. With electric, riff-heavy instrumentals and Stokes’s strong yet sweet-sounding vocals, The Beths also played “Lying in the Sun,” “Idea/Intent” and the title track from their 2018 EP, Warm Blood.
Cheers, shouts, and whistles from the room echoed as the band — who recently signed to Carpark Records — closed their set with catchy singles, “Uptown Girl,” and “Future Me Hates Me.” “There’s just something about you,” sang Stokes, “I wanna risk going through future heartache, future headaches, wide eyed nights spent lying awake.” The quartet waved to their devoted fanbase after returning for an encore and exited the stage for the final time as an entire venue clapped in grand approval.
Somewhere in between Valentine’s Day and awaiting the first day of spring, the show’s crowd sang along to words about infatuation, all-encompassing crushes, first dates and all.
Music Hall of Williamsburg heard everything from dancy jangle-pop, to raw, fervent indie rock with similar lovestruck sentiments. It’s hard not to fall in love with The Beths or The Bad Bad Hats, who will hit a few more stops together before embarking on tours of their own. If swoon-worthy alternative is kinda your thing, you really can’t miss either of these heartfelt, girl-powered acts.