Best Coast at the Phoenix; Saturday July 21, 2012

Half way into the show, Best Coast sported, in my opinion, their very finest tune “Our Deal.” I have the loveliest memories blaring this song on a mid-sized car that I rented in California just over a year ago, hanging on to every word. A few months later, the tune had a music video made directed by auteur Drew Barrymore. The terrific video features a ton of Hollywood’s finest young faces in a short that fuses together Romeo and Juliet with Grease. After play the first few notes, lights were shon on the large disco ball that probably spends more time collecting dust than in rotation. However for this four minute song, the room absolutely sparkled.

It’s not very often I can say that I went to a girl-charged show. Without contestation there were more gals in the Phoenix than the fellas. I have never really looked at Best Coast as a girl band, they’re sort of edgy and all of my garage/low-fi loving boy pals dig Best Coast tunes. I found myself quite amused by the predominantly female crowd.

Best Coast is a band that has three sometimes more members. The two forever figures are lead singer and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bob Bruno. It’s been interesting to see the band flip flop their band members, but also expand in numbers. My one criticism from seeing them just over a year ago was that their sound as a trio was too bare, as they often played without a bass guitar. Seeing them as a four piece really worked this time around. Cosentino introduced their bass guitarist as a Toronto native – the crowd cheered in response. Cosentino spent a good chunk of the show rattling her pal and guitarist Bob Bruno. She put forth a huge effort to include him, making Best Coast more of a band rather than a solo project with a band’s name. Although he lightly took it from her, Bob Bruno was not having any of it.

I was happy to hear that Cosentino’s voice was strong at this gig. Often falling flat, her vocals for the most party were spot on with what appears on the album. She did a nice job juggling between the band’s two albums in chunks, first a few songs off from Crazy For You and then a few off of The Only Place. While there’s much talk about the band’s sound changing, I feel like they very seamlessly made a sophomore album that compliments the former quite nicely.

Cosentino is extremely sassy. She seems incredibly comfortable being in front of a crowd. She’s blunt and isn’t afraid to point out the obvious. Over the last year she’s become Urban Outfitter’s new edgy it-girl and clothing designer of a new line for a company. Part way through the gig, Cosentino asked the crowd why no one was moving. I felt a little uneasy too as I was flailing in the back half of the venue as I would at home. Toronto’s indie rock scene definitely has some very ice cold crowds and Best Coast’s music is fun and meant to be danced to.

I had to skip out just before their encore to catch an early bus home, but had myself a lovely time with the California surf rockers.

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