Best Coast live in London
- By Nick Hagan -
- Jun 22, 2012
Sun-kissed Californians Best Coast should be the perfect antidote to our damp squib of a summer, but catching them live raises a question - can you have too much of a good thing?
First up, however, is support act Spectrals, who channel a similar blend of 60s pop to tonight's headliners, albeit via Yorkshire. Like an Arctic Monkeys surf cover band, it's pleasant enough stuff if a little underwhelming.
Then it's the main course. Opening with second album title track 'The Only Place', Best Coast waste no time laying their cards on the table. 'Why would you live anywhere else?' croons leading lady Bethany Cosentino, like all the world for a slightly desperate tourist brochure.
Ms Cosentino is in fine voice today, her angsty LA twang soaring above the woozy fretwork of lead guitarist Bobb Bruno to soak us in sumptuous, easy vibes. Paranoid love anthem 'Crazy For You' is thrown in early to get the crowd warmed up.
For a while it's pretty good, and Best Coast do possess an ample handful of feelgood tunes. The grungy swing of 'Last Year' is one such treat.
But here's the issue – after about five or six songs it feels like you've heard everything the band has to offer. There's the breakneck, three minute fuzzy rockers and the doe-eyed, slower ones (the lovely, Ronettes-tinged 'How they Want Me To Be', 'No One Like You'). And that's about it. Consistently gorgeous the tone may be - especially Cosentino's belting voice – but her tales of love lost and found rapidly become monotonous. Forty minutes in, I'm starting to get restless.
The stop-start dynamics of 'Do You Still Love Me Like You Used To' pick things up a little, and then we're into covers territory. 'Does anyone here like Fleetwood Mac?' asks Cosentino, to a huge cry from the crowd. The song in question is 'Storms', and, sans drums, they absolutely nail it.
A drawn out encore sees a solid 'Boyfriend' finally make its appearance, before Spectrals re-emerge for a cover of snotty Blink 182 favourite 'Dammit'.
For addicts of pure, sugar-coated guitar pop Best Coast are ideal to gorge on – at a festival or as a support act they'd no doubt be a perfect proposition. But tonight's performance makes their limits clear, and leaves the impression they sorely need to mix up the formula.
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