Concerts and Shows at The Magic Bag
Audiotree Presents The Beths with Rosie Tucker
Monday, August 15 - Doors 7pm - $20 adv/$23 dos.
The following COVID-19 protocols are in place for this event, per request of artist and/or venue:
Proof of Vaccination: RECOMMENDED - Masks: RECOMMENDED
Know what the policies for each show are before you go! For more information, please visit https://www.audiotreepresents.com/covid19
The Beths return with "A Real Thing," their first new song since the release of 2020's Jump Rope Gazers. "A Real Thing" comes as The Beths begin their long-awaited North American headline tour, which has been rescheduled twice due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Last year, the band released Auckland, New Zealand, 2020, a live concert recording that showcased the infectious energy The Beths bring to every performance, and what audiences have been so dearly missing.
"'A Real Thing' is a kind of anxiety dream. It's a bit muddled, a bit frantic, a bit sinister," says lead singer Liz Stokes. "It's what came out of my guitar in late 2020, post NZ election (and U.S. election). I was limply reaching for optimism about the future, but was really just marinating in dread." Ultimately playing more apocalyptic scenarios of climate change in her head, Stokes' lyrics include specific references to how New Zealand has dealt with sea level rise in the past: "In NZ people sometimes use tyres and cement to build retaining walls by the water, to try to stop the land being eroded away as the sea encroaches. It doesn't really work." It's a poignant image for a band that has had to navigate the constant changes in our present moment.
The deep bond between Stokes, lead guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair, and drummer Tristan Deck, has allowed them to overcome challenging circumstances and that's present in the upbeat urgency of "A Real Thing." It's palpable from the very start and paired with the band's signature bright, raucous guitar hooks and cooing harmonies; the song races and soars, much like an increasing heart rate. The Beths' infectious and insightful songwriting on "A Real Thing" is an exciting marker of more excellent work to come, and the perfect way to mark the beginning of tour.
Now comes the third album from Rosie Tucker, 'Sucker Supreme.'
It's a coming of age album, yes, and an album that aches with self-discovery, self-definition, and self-redefinition: "Nothing is simple just cause you wish that it is." "I can't believe I'll die before becoming a frog." "Wolfing down Doritos, lickin' on my fingers, anger on my tongue, Doritos in my anger!" "Wouldn't we be perfect together if we wanted exactly the same thing?" But 'Sucker Supreme,' Tucker's first album for Epitaph, is also just the right follow-up to where their last album, 2019's 'Never Not Never Not Never Not,' left off: still playfully observed, still sneakily political, still indebted to folk singers of the past – but also much, much bigger, brighter, louder and noisier than anything Tucker has dared before. It delivers mightily on an ambitious M.O.: to be relentlessly catchy and muscular and noisy but also beautiful; be achingly sad and searching, but never too far away from funny, either; and to spotlight Tucker's empathetic, yearning vocals on top of it all.
In the world of 'Sucker Supreme,' Rosie's openhearted, sing-song alto melodies are king; wry, detailed lyricism is queen; and noise is the old man with the long beard who seems like he came from nowhere. Noise creaks in every layer of these songs: ticking Geiger counters, synthesized whale calls, tape machine slams, walls of distorted guitar rolling in and then blooming out into infinite repeats.
"I've spent a lot of time refusing to come to terms with the fact that I am stuck with myself, being the person I am all the time," says Tucker, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. "Yes, I've gotten better at using a calendar, and exercising, and telling people about my stupid feelings when it's relevant to do so. Sure, I floss sometimes. I read nonfiction and take out the trash. I'm a paragon of decency. All this to say I have gotten adequate at living while impatiently waiting for the smarter, kinder, better looking version of myself to come along, lead me out back, and put me out of my misery."
Nowhere is this self-exploration more poignant than on "Habanero," a song about waiting for a transformation that isn't coming. "The first two verses are about flirting, which is an important distraction from both the problems of the self and the issue of mortality," Tucker says. "Desire is not the same thing as a sense of self, but it'll work as an added sugar corn syrup kind of substitute. The third verse pulls from an early memory of a stream dense with tadpoles, watching them wriggle around my fingers in the water. I was obsessed – obsessed – with amphibians in general, and frogs in particular. I loved that they couldn't be confined to one environment. I loved that they grow up by way of shape-shifting."
Album leadoff track "Barbara Ann," visits coming of age in an emphatically hard-rocking tale of family conflict, knowing yourself, and agribusiness. "My maternal grandparents worked out a living on a farm in northeast Illinois, and I have many vivid memories of visiting with them, collecting chicken eggs and feeding the cows and rooting around in the mildewy basement. I was allowed total freedom to roam in the corn, or to climb into the hay loft and peer at dead birds. Once, in complete secrecy, I laid an open palm on the electric wire that ran around the property even though I'd been told a million times not to. I desired the knowledge more than I feared my parents," Tucker says. "At birth we inherit our families and spend the rest of our time struggling to make sense of those aspects of our life we have no control over."
It takes a unique group of people to make an album that leaps out of the speakers at you like this one. 'Sucker Supreme' is the first record made by Tucker's current touring band: drummer Jessy Reed, guitarist Jess Kallen, and bassist Wolfy, who also occupied the producer's chair. It's a group of people as eager to share their long-dead folk music heroes as they are to pay homage to their still-kicking pop-punk heartthrobs.
As with all things Rosie Tucker, this album is not easily slotted into a binary like happy or sad. In the world of 'Sucker Supreme,' concepts like male or female, married or divorced, destruction or salvation, are not two opposite sides of the same coin, they are all connected points on the same sphere. It's 2021! Abolish the binary! Transcend genre! Go to therapy!
No one involved with this album is boring enough to say that these are sad songs that sound happy. Some of them are just sad songs that sound sad. Indelible pre-album single "Ambrosia" serves as the centerpiece of 'Sucker Supreme,' with its self-conscious, yearning, but still faintly playful lyrics like, "You've got money stress so I pick up the check / I check my balance as I lean to one side," shortly before bursting open with a blustery sigh of, "Nothing is simple just 'cause you wish that it is: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!" But then there is the forceful "Brand New Beast" with its unforgettably bitter riposte of "You won't even eat me out!" And there's the Ralph Nader-inspired ode to a clunker, "For Sale: Ford Pinto," with its imagery of crashing into a cop car, and then, "Time is a trash compactor – I'm feeling pressed, but at least you're here with me and we've got sexual tension." Classic Rosie: sometimes sad, sometimes funny, sometimes singing, sometimes howling, but always saying the exact right thing at the exact right time.