Published Oct 30, 2010Summer's over, but try telling that to Best Coast. The Los Angeles-based trio are still touring behind their beach-friendly LP, Crazy for You, recruiting fellow California pop outfit Sonny & the Sunsets to support.
The opener got the evening off to a cheery start, as singer Sonny Smith and his band drew heavily on both '60s pop and '50s rock'n'roll. It was pleasant, although not particularly distinctive, and the set dragged as it went on.
Much of Best Coast's appeal is the charisma of frontwoman Bethany Cosentino, but she didn't seem like her usual charming self when she took the stage and immediately launched into "Bratty B," rarely glancing up from the neck of her guitar. This set the tone for her set, which frequently lacked the vibrancy of the group's recorded work.
On cuts like "This Is Real" and "Something in the Way," the singer's delivery was dead-eyed and lifeless, and she seemed to be having trouble following her own melodies as her voice drifted in and out of tune. Lacking the soaring vocals of the studio version, "Summer Mood" failed to live up to its title, coming across as more gloomy than sunny.
Even though the performance was sometimes lacklustre, there was no questioning the quality of the songwriting. The churning "Sun Was High (So Was I)" was beautifully yearning, and drummer Ali Koehler and guitarist Bobb Bruno cut loose on the rollicking "When I'm with You." The looming "Honey" was effectively unsettling, as Cosentino captured the dour tone perfectly.
The set reached its peak with the final song, "Each & Everyday." Following a mid-song noise jam, Cosentino set aside her guitar, leading the audience in a clap-along during the Beach Boys-style coda. Even though such uplifting moments were too few, it showed that even the onset of winter can't stop Best Coast from capturing that summer feeling.