Best Coast, Mediocre At Most

David L. Garcia
Staff Writer

Music should never be a fashion show, or, God forbid, a beauty contest. But to do justice to the huge let-down that was Best Coast’s show last Wednesday at the FIllmore, I need to describe the incredible outfit bandleader Bethany Cosentino was wearing. She looked sexier and badder than any rock star I’ve seen in years. Sporting a short latex skirt, a sheer mesh top, and a pair of suede heels, and armed with a drink and a blood red Fender Jaguar, she took the stage to applause that might have weakened the floorboards. Women gasped, men swooned, the claps went on and on and on.

The outfit was–and I’m still a bit heartbroken that I have to say this-is-the best part of the evening.

Well, wait. That’s not entirely fair. The music, the actual sounds the band was making, that was pretty great. Best Coast played for a good hour and a half, chugging through a setlist of fan favorites and a bunch of new songs off their latest album “California Nights.” The band soared through the jumpstart opener “Heaven Sent,” glided into their SoCal love letter “The Only Place” with ease, and managed to stick pretty much every song after another. Sonically, the band was pretty much gold.

But a concert isn’t about listening to music, in the same way that going to a restaurant isn’t always about eating food. We go to concerts to hear a band play, yes, but also to form a connection, to get as close as possible to the source of our aural happiness. When onstage, a band needs to acknowledge this: most of us are here to have a good time with you. We paid for tickets. Please act accordingly.

Best Coast sounded great, but they just looked so out of it, so completely over the songs, the crowd, and the cheers, that I had a hard time enjoying myself after about 15 minutes in to show. Cosentino barely smiled, and lead guitarist Bobb Bruno (immensely skilled as he is) looked downright bored. There were some mic problems, and Cosentino kept shooting glares and asides to the guy at the soundboard, making the whole experience really tense. She only spoke to the crowd twice, and although she offered her thanks for coming to the show sincerely enough, no one took it very seriously. This is probably why there were so many phones out; with the band looking so apathetic, barely anyone was dancing or rocking out like they could have.

Even the encore was a downer. The band broke out “Boyfriend,” which did perk up the room (pretty much everyone knew the words), but they flew through it at breakneck speed, and Cosentino strode off the stage seconds after belting out the last lyric. The guitarists soldiered on, blasting out an extended, feedback-drenched outro, but the damage was done.

The band has been on tour since May, and maybe they’re just worn out. Playing the same songs, week after week for months straight must get boring. But still. You can try.

I love Best Coast’s music. I’m certainly not going to fault them for one off night. I just wish they had put on a show half as good as Cosentino’s outfit.

Photo courtesy of Rracquel Gonzales/Foghorn

30 thoughts on “Best Coast, Mediocre At Most”

  1. This review is a joke. Sorry they weren’t smiling enough for you as they played a great set and sounded great. I can tell the reviewer doesn’t go to many shows, I don’t understand what some people expect.

  2. This isn’t a show review- this is just the author complaining and expounding his opinions. Less biased, more facts is better journalism.

  3. I don’t understand the hate on this review. It is just the man’s opinion that he disliked the lack of energy on stage. Don’t pretend like you haven’t gone to see a band you really like and been disappointed that they seemed disengaged. I wouldn’t bring it up too much if I were reviewing a show, but it is something I feel most of us have experienced before. He even granted the possibility of the band being tired and bored from a long tour. It happens. His review is still a positive as to the sound of the band.

    As for the sexism allegations I saw retweeted by Best Coast, ridiculous. Not once did this man suggest that her performance was poor because of her gender, and if complimenting her outfit is sexist, I don’t want to be alive anymore.

    Is this how low the bar is set now? The author IS A FAN OF BEST COAST and it is his OPINION that they seemed out of it during the show he witnessed. So sick of everyone hopping on the feigned outrage train.

    1. ‘If complimenting get outfit is sexist…’ ‘I GAVE you a compliment, you should be grateful!’ ‘Hey! Nice legs! What?? It’s a compliment’

      I’m scared people like you walk amongst us.

  4. Hey David, what was the guy in the band wearing? How was this even published? What an absolute garbage show review. Ugh. Go back to your mom’s basement.

  5. Srriously, did an editor or anyone with any sort of discretion read this trash before it was published? I don’t take the time to comment because I enjoy the band’s music. This is sexist garbage and I hope this publication takes a real hard look at whether they want to be represented by a misogynist who clearly struggles with writing about music.

  6. I’ve read my fair share of live music reviews, but this one has got to be the worst. I didn’t come here for a description of her fucking outfit. So so sad that female artists still have to deal with this disgusting sexism in media. Articles like these make me want to stay away from music journalism altogether.

  7. Maybe she’s not smiling because you’re writing as if her outfit is the most important thing about her above her career. The show was great, they sounded great, but that’s all down the pan because someone didn’t smile. Shock horror. News flash, gigs and tours are exhausting. Get a grip.

  8. shame on you, david. this is an incredibly sexist and sad excuse for a live review. i hope you take a step back and better yourself before you write another word because this is pathetic.

  9. I’m a musician. I’ve toured nationally…for months at a time. It’s beyond exhausting. Even the best bands have bad live “performances” occasionally. This should be expected if you attend enough shows. Mr. Garcia is well within his right to offer his point of view on Best Coast’s “performance”, the energy and actual delivery of the music. To a great many people, the actual delivery of the music during a live performance – the showmanship required to hold an audience’s attention and draw them into the experience fully – is of greater import than the ability with which they play. For these folks, the experience is more a social and emotional catharsis, rather than an a clinical examination of the notes being played by the musicians. Mr Garcia may be one of those people, and therefore his expectatiins were left unmet. After all, not everyone can be a 1980’s Diamond Dave or a 70’s Freddie Mercury or Mick Jagger. Having said that, Mr. Garcia somehow trying to compare the band’s performance to Bethany’s attire is not sexist at all, but rather arbitrary and pointless. Fashion critic is a different job altogether.

  10. Really interesting how the comments of this review changed once Bethany posted her social media accusation of sexism. The first three comments disagree, but no mentions of sexism. Once the sexism allegation, though, everyone just can’t wait to hop on board the “I’m sensitive to covert sexism!” train and prove they’re more offended than someone else.

    I wasn’t at the show, I don’t know if they played well or not, but simply mentioning what she wore as a way of saying “she looked like a rock star and we expected a badass rock show” is absolutely not sexism. Sorry.

    1. It is absolutely sexism.

      Sure, I didn’t know about this article until it was mentioned everywhere, but no matter what, as a woman who has been in the same situation, I would say the same exact thing. This type of behavior radiates and perpetuates sexism to it’s core. Not every woman that wears a low cut shirt is a hooker or is easy, just as any woman who “looked like a rock star” needs to be jumping around stage, smiling or giving bjs after the show. What exactly did you expect??


  11. If Bethany was a dude there would have been no mention of her clothing, it wouldn’t have even been a factor in the review. Besides the fact that this review sucks and best coast is awesome live, having seen them several times over the past few years in several different settings (festivals, clubs) I find it extremely unfortunate that it’s more about her clothing than her showmanship, if a male lead singer had gone on stage and acted in this supposed way you would have written the review on just that, the fact that he was in a tshirt and jeans would have never made it to the final edit but because she is a woman and is dressed however the hell she wants it’s part of your review. The focus isn’t just on what was written exactly but the fact that it exists in the review at all. Bottom line, if you’re going to write a review, write a real one. Best coast forever.

  12. I am surprised that you are allowed to write for this paper, due to your lack of creativity and underdeveloped writing skill. If you cannot grab a reader’s attention in any other means than being sexist, you shouldn’t be writing any type of article or news. You are supposed to be reviewing the band and sharing your opinion about the show. You are not supposed to be focusing on how the only woman in the band dressed. It’s interesting how that is the only introduction and attention grabber that you could come up with.

  13. “But a concert isn’t about listening to music”. Is this a joke? A ticket stub doesn’t entitle you to anything more than a good set, which as a music fan, is all a person should want in the first place. Your fixation on her clothes and her demeanour tells me you’d be better off going to a nightclub than a concert. If you want to see her smile more, maybe don’t spew out misogynistic garbage like this in the name of music journalism and start focusing on the stuff that she’s actually here for.

  14. I saw Best Coast on this tour back in June, Bethany had the same disengagement then too. I think there was even an article on how her on-stage persona has changed over the years, its much more muted now. I enjoyed the show, but the interaction with the crowd was minimal and I felt the same way in that they were just plowing through their setlist.

    I’m not going to call this post sexist at all, too many people jumping on the bandwagon after BC posted it to their social media.

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