Best Coast, Sky Larkin
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Sometimes there is nothing more repelling than hype. Not because people aren't to be trusted, especially when it often appears to be a gigantic weight of them, but more because the crushing of heightened expectation is never fun and you'll never regain the enthusiasm that was once a product of the small element of mystery. It's more than fair to say that Best Coast have been recipients of an awful lot of talk, chatter, much positive, much of it perhaps over the top. Maybe it's because there's so little to get excited about nowadays. I don't really know.
One band who haven't exactly been hyped as much as they deserve is Sky Larkin, who are the only support tonight. I like this. It's a good idea. Invariably few people watch the third band and for a very good reason, so this streamlined approach is fine with me. They do what they do well, with Katie reaching the higher notes, doing the eyes closed and shoulders hunched thing (signiture move) and Nestor beating the drums whilst gurning and sweating profusely. He puts in the effort, not forgetting Doug's sturdy basslines.
Tonight, and probably generally, there exists something live which improves Best Coast. Now, the background high-pitched guitar squalls and lo-fi approach on record are all part of the appeal, but without those elements it's possible to get into the meat of Bethany Cosentino's songwriting, as well as letting her voice cover your every cell, which is a very nice feeling. The presence of Ali Koehler (formerly of Vivian Girls)( on the sticks and skins is a neat enough addition to Beth and Bobb, who wields the bass like a python, delicately but somehow assertively.
The singles are noted highlights, mostly because they are the greatest tracks, obviously. 'Boyfriend' oozes the powerful pop punk elements of The Ramones, with a little bit of the swirly-girly vocals thrown in to the mix. Sometimes it's perfectly acceptable to have replace any meaningful lyrics with a wall of “ooh-ohs”, and here this is definitely the case. It's hot, it's punchy and it is above all, glowingly fun.
Those who were practically begging for Bethany to offer a version of Wavves' (is he her boyfriend?!) 'I'm So Bored' get their wish right at the end. It's not certain that many others were at all bothered about hearing this rendition, but when it rings out I can't see disappointed face. That's how you do it. The encore – if indeed you can call it so – was not an inch short of shambolic. The trio return after hardly the most enthusiastic call to do so – though the original ending was rapturous – and then, due to the problem of the ever-moving mic stand, Ali attemps to fix it, eventually leading to a complete collapse. One more song follows and then that's it.
It can grate when people judge music, damningly, in irrelevant aspects like the proposed longevity of a record. This is silly. We are here now to enjoy what exists now, not to speculate on whether we'll still feel the same in 10 or 20 years time. Here's an answer – we won't. We will not be dicussing the quality of this Best Coast album when we're old and grey but there's a good chance we'll look back and say “those shows were a lot of fun”, and that's just fine. Should probably ditch the encores, though.
Photo by Jon Fisher
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