Show Review: Best Coast at the Royale, Boston 7/18/12

words and photos by Vanessa Bennett | Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Best Coast took the stage at Boston’s Royale on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 and delivered 90 minutes of melancholy but sunny, pop-infused indie rock. Fans converged in front of the stage with admirable determination, and once a spot was claimed, there was no way it was going to be given up. As Bethany Cosentino took the stage, a riotous uproar bellowed out for her. Cosentino’s response? “I ate way too much California Pizza Kitchen — my apologies to anyone in the front if I burp or vomit.” Her retort kicked off the show and seemed to bath her in an endearing light that had fans completely in love.

With the recent release of The Only Place, Cosentino and her cohort, Bobb Bruno, are showing signs of growing up. Cosentino in particular seems to have established a clear sense of self, leaving behind an angsty youth for a deeper understanding of her emotions. Her lyrics now display more darkness and depth; they are more mature sentiments on the pangs of couple-dom, and a more articulate description of her love of California. They are still set to well-formulated So-Cal pop-punk, but they seem less superficial and more introspective.

The band played a smattering of songs off their two full-length albums, giving fans a hearty variety. As hazed guitar riffs emanated from “Summer Mood” and “I Want You,” fans swayed in time, hypnotized by Cosentino’s emotional vocals and the Best Coast graphics illuminating the onstage screen. The lyrics to “Our Deal” could be heard echoing from fans mouths, and “The Only Place” was met with jumping, hands about heads, and Cosentino’s sassy smile.

“No One Like You” and “Last Year” marked a slowing in tempo and an acknowledgement of a sadness that is at times inherent in love. Cosentino was mesmerizing here. Her voice crooned each heart-wrenching lyric in an engaging and provoking way. The combination of rapidly progressing songs and thoughtfully ambling ballads kept fans on their toes, longing for more. After each song Cosentino gave a hearty “thank you,” surprised by the lavish applause given by fans.

The guitar chords were fast, the progressions sharp, and the steady supply of percussionary flare served to create an utterly enjoyable performance. Bruno’s guitar work was, as always, intricate, precise, and a display of clear talent. Best Coast has made a habit of constructing fast, short songs of lovelorn despair that are filtered through upbeat harmonies and seemingly positive melodies. The conundrum creates an atmosphere of positivity even in the face of adversity that fans clearly admired and related to.

As the band left the stage, the cries for an encore were instant. Hands clapped feverishly as concertgoers cried for “one more song.” Their cries echoed and for a brief moment there was a question as to whether the band would return. Eventually, they did. Bruno swaggered up to the mic and said a quick “Thank you” before the band broke into a collection of superbly performed tracks, including “Boyfriend” and “When I’m With You,” which satiated the crowd.

Best Coast has honed in on a genre and style of play that suits them well. They’ve grown within it, and have proved that they have quite a bit to offer both on their albums and in their live performances.

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