Best Coast at First Avenue, 7/31/13
|Photo by Joanna Fox|
with Prissy Clerks
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of Best Coast brought their well-rehearsed, sun-soaked sound to First Avenue last night, providing a fitting soundtrack to an unseasonably mild late-July evening. For those of us who dread the late season brew of heat and humidity, the end of July reminds us that August is lamentably just around the corner, and with its arrival, the dog days.
Best Coast's seventeen-song, hour and fifteen minute set provided further reminder that the glories of mid-summer are indeed fleeting. In the wake of a few strong EPs, Best Coast released their debut album Crazy for You in 2010. Celebrated for its carefree ethos as much as for its simple clarity, Crazy for You holds up as one of the better pop albums in recent memory.
|Photos by Joanna Fox|
In the two years following the release of Crazy for You and the band's sophomore effort The Only Place, the slump dug in deep. In a pre-release interview, Cosentino announced "seriously, this record is emo -- get ready for it." Ugh. This record - The Only Place - is not emo, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would acknowledge it as a success. The considerable sonic and recording resources poured into the production of The Only Place did nothing to signal forward momentum for Best Coast. Crazy for You will never be celebrated for its lyrical depth, but the longing, impulsive spirit at its core is more compelling than anything you'll find on The Only Place.
Best Coast took the stage -- slowly -- letting Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" reach its inevitable crescendo with the crowd belting out the obligatory "I love you baby!" Without a greeting, the band made its way through "Goodbye," "Crazy for You" and "Summer Mood," all from their debut album. Cosentino's sultry voice was front and center as she ambled through the "Summer Mood" refrain, reminding the crowd how rich her vocal talents are. Four songs from The Only Place followed, including the truly unfortunate "The Only Place," but also the pining, oozing ballads "Last Year" and "No One Like You."
The back and forth between old material and newer material continued throughout the set, which included two tracks from Best Coast's forthcoming EP. Like the material on The Only Place, these newer songs, especially "Fear of My Identity," offer greater lyrical variety and a more polished sound, but they don't capture summer in a bottle the way Crazy for You did in 2010. The band was at its best last night when revisiting earlier songs, most notably "Our Deal" and "Honey," a pair of burning ballads that put the spotlight squarely on Cosentino's voice.