The Beaches bring heartbreak punk songs to Napa Valley for BottleRock 2024

by Gavin Meichelbock

This article is part of BruinLife’s BottleRock music festival coverage happening from May 24-26, 2024.

Gritty indie-alternative rock might not be the genre people expect to come out of Toronto, but it is here and it is electric. Curse words and explicit lyrics tell relatable stories of toxic relationships, bad breakups and social anxiety in songs from the four-member band The Beaches. Punk-rock guitar lines and emotionally raw vocals drew a massive crowd of long-time fans and first-time listeners to the JaM Cellars Stage at BottleRock 2024.

The band came on seven minutes late which led to some anticipating fans yelling, “Come on Beaches,” obviously playing on the pseudo-homonym in the group’s name. At 2:07 pm, The Beaches ran on stage, the lead singer struck a pose and the set began. The first song was “T-Shirt,” during which one of the two guitarists, Leandra Earl, playfully grabbed the lead singer and bassist Jordan Miller during the line, “Itty bitty … committee.” The song ended and Jordan Miller greeted the audience by asking them if they had wine hangovers, stating that she was ready to go crush some grapes after her performance.

The Beaches then went into their second song of the set, “Me & Me.” This very No-Doubt-esque punk song was inspired by an episode of “Sex and the City” and is about enjoying spending time alone. During the performance, the jumbotron cut to the drummer, Eliza Enman-McDaniel, who looked incredibly locked in, keeping the band totally in the pocket as they finished off their second song. Following up her previous question, Jordan Miller asked the audience if they were ready to be hungover tomorrow; the audience enthusiastically cheered. She then asked a more dour question: “Who’s ready to grow up tomorrow?” This led into their next song, “Growing Up Tomorrow.”

During the bridge, Jordan Miller, Earl and the second guitarist, Kylie Miller, all started jumping around the center of the stage as it concluded. Not even a second passed after “Growing Up Tomorrow” finished and their next song, “Kismet.” Earl took a second to tune her guitar, leaving the audience with no time to breathe before striking up their fourth song. Jordan Miller put the bass down and waved her arms around in a sassy way while she sang this quirky love song about trying to convince a guy they are perfect for each other. Kylie Miller and Earl took turns running across the left side of the stage and Earl took a little extra time getting back as she appeared to be having the time of her life spinning around the center of the stage. Kylie Miller started a clap that swept through the audience during the build section. At the climax, Earl yet again was jamming all to herself as she started to do a reverse leg deadlift while playing the guitar before ending up on her knees on the floor, still playing.

Fifth in their set was “Shower Beer.” Although the song is about the fear of missing out, the two guitarists and Jordan Miller all joined in singing, “I wanna get drunk and slip up.” Interluding between songs, Jordan Miller asked if anyone wanted to get married and pointed out how her sister can officiate a wedding in some southern state. Then, Earl went on a slight tangent about lesbian relationship trauma and how her therapist hates her. This offtopic subject surprisingly led into their next song all about Earl’s ex-girlfriend, titled “Edge of the Earth.”

Although the song has a heavy personal topic, Earl was still skipping around the stage. Enman-McDaniel struck the song’s final beat and Jordan Miller began twirling around the stage to cue up the next song. “My People” began with the bassist singing, “Sold my panties to some guy in Napa,” a change from the original recording that got the audience to cheer since she said the city they were in. Earl yet again stole the spotlight for this song as she emitted an aesthetic “whooshing” sound from her guitar by rubbing a drumstick on the strings and then throwing kicks into the air before going down on her knees and shredding the song’s final bars.

As their time on stage was nearing completion, Jordan Miller asked the audience if they have ever gotten social anxiety; the younger audience member gave a shockingly loud reply for people supposedly struggling with social anxiety. The singer followed that up by saying she used to get really drunk at parties and rant about her feelings. Her sister then said that she still does it — now she’s just doing it at festivals. Their PSA on mental health got cut short as they jumped into their third-to-last song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Paranoid.”

The Beaches’ second-to-last song was “Everything is Boring” and was their hardest rock song of their set. Then, with time running low, Jordan Miller said it was time to blame all of her exes and struck up their most popular song, “Blame Brett.” In the moments before the final chorus, the lead singer asked if anyone was currently going through heartbreak, which drew a vocal response from the 20-something-year-old girls in the audience. Jordan Miller led them in blaming their exes for all of their problems and ended their set with an emotionally intense climax.

While their time was cut seven minutes short, The Beaches made every second count at BottleRock 2024.

Featured Image: Leandra Earl of The Beaches plays her guitar at the BottleRock Napa Valley 2024 music festival. Photographed by Cathryn Kuczynski/BruinLife.

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