Best Coast finds hospitable territory
Royale, Boston, July 18, 2012
Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Best Coast may be West Coast-based, but the East Coast proved to be just as hospitable territory-wise. Not that that should be a problem given the winning sound of the duo.
Best Coast is lead singer/guitarist Bethany Consentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno, aided by another guitarist and drummer. The focus clearly was on Consentino because the fact of the matter was that Bruno blended right in with the other musicians on stage.
On CD - both the brand new "The Only Place" as well as 2010's "Crazy For You" - the emphasis clearly is on three-minute pop songs with a Sixties girl group sensibility.
In concert, that wasn't quite as obvious because Bruno's playing along with those of the drummer, in particular (although the drummer provided too much volume on three or four songs, including I Want You), tattooed the songs with a denser sound (When I'm With You).
But the songs remained almost uniformly easy to get into and catchy. Consentino's vocals were mixed far above her band mates. Sort of a more melodic, poppier Neko Case, Consentino has a most pleasant voice whether on the faster-paced or the welcome change of a few ballads (No One Like You and How They Want Me To Be,) where she was perhaps even better. On the closing song of the regular set ,Up All Night, Consentino sounded downright pretty.
Once she develops a commanding stage presence - she did engage the crowd some and talk (Consentino has battled an anxiety disorder) - Best Coast will be even better.
With a bunch of short songs, the pace never wavered throughout the regular 50-minute regular set plus 13-minute encore.
This wasn't exactly the longest concert going, but Best Coast showed they were far more than up to the task no matter whether Left or Right Coast.
Last time around, Tennessee-based band Those Darlins' were a female trio, but Kelly Darlin' left. And there were a few other changes as well
The band heretofore plied a punky country sound. The emphasis now was far more on the latter. The country element came into occasional - very occasional play mainly with the drawl vocal style of Jessie Darlin, although the vocal mix was not stellar. She took the largest chunk of vocals, singing until her eyes occasionally literally bulged out. Jessi had a good vibe going about her.
Her counterpart, Nikki Darlin, did not cut as strong a presence. Nikki tended to be more reserved, paint-by-the-numbers and with little oomph about her.
As for the songs, the quality remained high with a bunch of well put together, fast-paced efforts. Those Darlins clearly have changed with Kelly Darlin gone, but change isn't always a bad thing as the band made clear on this evening.
DIIV, a Brooklyn quartet previously known as Dive, opened the night with an inviting set geared towards the instrumentation. The songs were underpinned time and again by the guitar playing of Z. Cole Smith with sharp, small guitar bursts.
With the emphasis was on the music, not singing, the band could use a chunk more stage presence. Shoegaze clearly described the bassist. Engulfed by long stringy hair, he never looked up.