Best Coast Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON, February 22
Published Feb 23, 2016If you want to get pedantic about it, this Best Coast concert wasn't a Best Coast Concert: the band are currently co-headlining with Wavves on their Summer is Forever II tour, a follow up to 2011's original. It was a nice night of fuzzy guitar rock that started early (the doors opened at 7 and the first band, fellow California dreamers Cherry Glazerr took the stage 20 minutes later) and ended before 11 — good ol' wholesome fun with enough messiness (and wafting weed smoke) around the edges to appeal to the all-ages crowd.
While Best Coast is often lumped in with the indie-alternative, slacker, lo-fi (and other phrases that have become more buzz words than actual descriptors) California pop scene, they have become inarguably mainstream, for obvious reasons. There hasn't been a ton of variety between their three studio albums, or even between individual songs — all paeans to California, crushes and getting high — but what the band does they do very well.
Summer never felt more alluring and further away than it did last night (February 22) in the middle of a brutal Toronto winter. When frontwoman Bethany Cosentino, guitarist Bobb Bruno and their touring band took to the stage in a haze of purple spotlights, they were met with a receptive crowd desperate to escape the grey and cold from outside. Maybe Best Coast are meant to be listened to during a warm summer evening, but they're a band that's especially needed when the weather's shit.
They opened right away with their early hit "When I'm With You," because hey, they know what the people want. Cosentino has built a persona around somebody who always seems like she'd rather be at home with her cat getting stoned, but she was good natured enough during the set, seeming especially comfortable when situated behind a guitar, and at her peak on tunes like "So Unaware," which gave her a chance to show off her abilities. In between songs she did as much pleasant chatter as required, so when midway through the show a male voice from the crowd shouted "FREE KESHA!" (referring to the pop star's recent legal battle with her alleged abuser), Cosentino replied "Seriously, free Kesha" before quickly playing the next song.
It was a long set (18 songs, plus an encore), so Cosentino seemed to be reserving her energy for, you know, the actual music. She sounded polished, and stayed so throughout the entire hour-plus show, a testament to the work required to sound so effortless.