Best Coast & Male Bonding at the Triple Rock, 9/17/10
September 17, 2010
Triple Rock, Minneapolis
Best Coast puts on a really odd live show. I was a big fan of Crazy For You when it was first released, egged on by her solid EPs from last year. But then Bethany Cosentino started showing up everywhere, always talking about that damn cat of hers or smoking weed with Freddie Gibbs on Pitchfork and looking pretty air-headed in the process. And then indie guitar-ripping goddess Marnie Stern questioned what the hell Best Coast even was and figuratively slapped her boyfriend, Wavves' Nathan Williams, in the face in the same token.
This really isn't Best Coast's fault, and I always felt a little bad for her and the band when these attacks would surface. Then I went to their show at the Triple Rock last night only to realize within one song of their set that this would not be a good time and perhaps Best Coast isn't all it's cut out to be. I am probably one out of 10 people who thought this live show was a totally boring escapade which furthered the band into that realm of trite West Coast indie rock.
For one, I don't think I can go to shows in Minneapolis anymore without some young "adult" with ironic tattoos, too much PBR, and an all Urban Outfitters or American Appy outfit on basically throwing themselves onto the stage or unknowingly pushing others down because they are so blasted. Not sure when people stopped being able to hold their alcohol (I get rather immobile when I've had too many drinks), but Best Coast didn't care! "Fuck the narcs!" Bethany yelled to the audience after complaining all their booze got taken away at a previous show. Now, we all know that is a tried and tested cliché to say, and it could possibly be the dumbest thing you could say because no matter what, you don't come off sounding anarchic, cool, or even remotely intelligent. Alas, 75% of the audience ate that one right up.
Songs that were truly brilliant on the album like "The End" or "Crazy For You" were lackluster in a live setting. Bethany doesn't move or actually change her pitch, and former Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler looked totally amateur compared to Robin Silas Christian, the drummer of Male Bonding (who ruled if anyone actually cared). It's totally unfortunate Koehler doesn't get a better part in this band because she did so much for Vivian Girls to make them sound fast and furious. And seriously, Best Coast needs that when they are live.
That being said, if you actually moved back from the front of the stage towards the bar in the Triple Rock, things sounded a hell of a lot better, but something tells me they will need to really branch out their sound to keep anyone caring in the years to come. Pitchfork can dote on you all you want, but after the same skuzzy, 60s garage sound coming to light over and over again, Best Coast really doesn't do anything remotely different, and their lyrics definitely don't. If I have to hear about Bethany wanting a boyfriend or wanting a kiss or wanting a hug or wanting to hold her cat anymore, I'm not sure what I will do.
On another note, I really hope people appreciated Brit openers Male Bonding whose debut album Nothing Hurts is one of the best reviewed albums of the year. They went into the Triple Rock noticing their disadvantage with the crowd and just stopped waiting for applause to come (which was meager even as the venue was packed). Their set was insanely good and fun to watch; it was punk rock for modern times at its finest, and here's hoping they come back and headline the Triple Rock in the future.
Critic's Bias: Best Coast took 2 hours to hit the stage from the time doors opened. Their set-up is ridiculously simple. Were they smoking a joint back stage? I kept seeing chicken fingers go back there so who knows.
The Crowd: A lot of good people there, but there were the typical drunk-off-PBR hipsters in the center attempting to start a mosh pit.
Overheard in the Audience: Either people mistaking Male Bonding as an act of gay public affection or regarding Bobb Bruno's guitar: "It's a Danelecto reissue which is, like, so douchey."
Random Notebook Dump: The Triple Rock will always be my favorite venue in the area for the incredible shows they book, but if university kids keep crossing the street to the place and acting stupid, I might disavow Twin Cities shows altogether. And this is coming from a university kid.