Published Feb 14, 2010For fans of lo-fi fuzz pop, there was no better place to be on Friday night than Vancouver's Biltmore Cabaret, where Brooklyn's Vivian Girls shared the bill with Californian up-and-comers Best Coast.
The room was noticeably below capacity when Best Coast took the stage, likely due the Olympic festivities that were occurring just across town. Those that showed up were treated to a solid set from the Los Angeles trio, who managed to cover most of their recorded output during their brief half hour set. They also played a handful of new cuts, which were punkish, catchy and invariably about love. Backed by a drummer and a baritone guitarist, front-woman and former Pocahaunted member Bethany Cooper closed the set with the single "Something in the Way," its peppy girl group bounce inspiring dancing that was halfway between a mosh pit and the twist.
Unlike the good vibes of Best Coast's set, Vivian Girls got off to a rocky start, with singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone accusing someone of stealing one of her pedals and bassist Katy Goodman complaining about the curtains before the first song even started. Once the music got underway, things went more smoothly, and the energy reached its peak during the pseudo doo-wop rocker "Can't Get Over You." Nearly as effective was the slow-burning breakup song "Before I Start to Cry," although its beauty was someone undercut when Goodman attempted to make small talk about the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili moments before.
Vivian Girls wrapped up the evening with the blistering one-two punch of "All the Time" and "No," sounding closer to straight-ahead punk than the sugary pop the group is known for. It was an effective closer and showed that, despite their charmless stage presence and ill-timed banter, Vivian Girls are savvy enough to know how to send their fans home happy.