I've been wanting to see Best Coast play a headlining show since catching them at the FYF Fest, and finally got my chance last night at the Troubadour. The band has been touring nonstop since September's outdoor extravanganza, and last night capped off a sold-out, two-show, hometown stand. I was lucky enough to talk to the duo before the show, and Bethany mentioned that she actually asked to play the gigs there rather than play somewhere bigger like the Music Box or the El Rey. Cool, and kind of like The Clash booking a week-long run at the Palladium instead of doing a huge arena show, right?
Opening the show were some friends of Best Coast, Dunes. My friend Ben immediately identified the drummer, who was in Mika Miko. She totally rips, and gives the dreamy, gritty, swirly sound some real power that simply buries more goth-y descendants of Siouxsie, Strawberry Switchblade, and so on. Short, sweet set by the awesome opener. I picked up their CD and can't wait to hear it.
Best Coast were next, and anyone who underestimates Bobb's contributious to the band just needs to watch the setup. He breaks out, sets up, and puts the finishing touches on everything. He's also been in a number of experiment bands (such as Polar Goldie Cats) and plays really challenging solo stuff (in a bunny suit). You can check out his work here. It seems right that a hard-working, super-talented, lifer in indie music like Bobb is getting some run for BC these days–even if he gets edited out of interviews and cropped out of photos. I'm serious. It happens.
Like their amazing debut album, the set was straight-up, rocked-out pop with no filler and no bullshit. Bethany doesn't waste time with a persona, rock poses, or pandering to the crowd. She, Bobb, and Ali simply rock out and have fun. It was nice to see them in a place with decent acoustics and some L.A. musical history–even if the lighting sucks and there's no way to take a decent band portrait with wack posters and cheap wood everywhere! But back to the music, the band gets lumped with other lo-fi groups like VIvian Girls and Dum Dum Girls, but the live show reminds more of The Muffs or sometimes even some of J Church's noisier songs. Super catchy and tight with a lot of bite.
Best Coast also takes some hits for having such a consistent sound–consistantly catchy and rad, I think–but the last song really stood out. After a tasteful bit of rocking out (the equivalent of a huge jam for BC) Bethany stepped out onto the monitors and into the crowd. It was real cool moment touching on the Troubadour's rock tradition as well as the humble-but-awesome band's upward trajectory. Not toward cheesiness at all, but unfiltered honesty,untapped energy, new songs, and bigger crowds. The first song of the encore was just Bethany and an extra fuzzed-out guitar. Super atmospheric and arresting.
A personal highlight (besides Bobb saying that he probably had most of the back issues that I gave the band): After spotting my friend Three pointing in my direction from across the room, I waved back only to hear yet someone else's voice yell out “Giant Robot!” Nice. I recognized him from Comic-Con, and you can see him looking away in the front row above! (See you next year at Comic-Con, if not at a show before that, friend.)
I'll put up excerpts of the interview with the Best Coast online soon (featuring real photogrphy by Ben Clark, not my prosumer-level fooling around with the GF1), and the whole enchilada will come out when it's time for GR69. Gotta let GR68 do its thing first…