David L. Garcia
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