Best Coast | 09.16.13

Best-Coast 75_copyDespite the tiredness and tech issues, they sounded good and played hard for the crowd.

Best-Coast 500_copy_copy

Photos: C. Daniel 

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The Firebird, St. Louis, Mo.

Best Coast, along with show opener Bleached, brought their version of punked-out, sun drenched, surf pop to the masses at The Firebird. There was a surprisingly large crowd for a Monday night gig. Going into this, I expected to see an 80-20 ratio of women to men based on Best Coast’s songs, which range from front woman Beth Consentino wanting a boyfriend to missing her boyfriend. Instead, I would say it was about 50-50, and the guys were the ones rocking out the most. A random observation I know, but it was a pre-conceived notion I had that was shattered, which is a great thing.

Bleached opened things up very much in the same vein as Best Coast. A honey dripped, slightly punkish, modern surf pop meets Elastica, minus songs about Damen’s inability to get it up because of too much lager — sunny lyrics and melodies and very buoyant vocals. Front woman Jennifer Calvin is able to keep things rolling along and is effervescent on stage. The stand out track for them was “All the Things You Don’t Have”.

Best Coast took the stage, oddly enough, to Toto’s seminal classic “Africa”. There was something planned for that; however, Consentino had some issues with one of the effect pedals, which plagued her all night, and that ruined whatever it was they had planned. The band actually had multiple tech issues through the night. Their guitar tech was able to address the issues quickly, but the multiple issues did break up a lot of the flow. Beth even called it the show from hell for the band. The average attendee wouldn’t really know the difference as the breaks were really not that big of a disruption and thankfully were not in the middle of the songs, at least not that I could tell. The band looked a little road weary, actually. I’m not sure if we are towards the end of the tour and they are tired, or the beginning and they hadn’t fully hit their stride yet. They sounded fine but just looked … tired.

I should mention, they are much more punk sounding live than their albums convey. The albums have a polished and clean sheen to them and are reverb heavy. Live, they have the distortion up and are ready for business. I’ve been a casual fan since the debut hit, and I like their songs well enough but always thought they were just too sunny and same-songy. One thing I noticed — maybe it was the tired look of the band — their songs can be actually quite dark at times. Sure, she’s singing about wanting a boyfriend or about losing a boyfriend, but there is this darkish undercurrent to it that I never noticed before. It’s like she’s saying ‘I want you,’ but with a sneer and her foot loaded ready to kick you.

They performed quite a bit off of both LPs along with a couple new songs so everyone got their money’s worth. The crowd was very appreciative and vocal through the night. And in fairness, Best Coast did deserve it. Despite the tiredness and tech issues, they sounded good and played hard for the crowd. That’s what you want out of touring band, a great performance. Standouts: Boyfriend, Crazy For You, Summer Mood, The End, Last Year | Mike Koehler

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