Monday night, September 21, the LA based band Best Coast gave Denver a live listen of their new Album California Nights. California Nights is Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno’s third full-length album, released in May, and is a slightly more sophisticated and thoughtful album covering their reoccurring themes of relationships and life in California. They are not the same band they were five years ago, and Cosentino’s growth both as a musician and coming into her late twenties, certainly shines through.
Cosentino explains how this album, “embodies the rich lightness and stinging darkness of a California state of mind” and the juxtaposition of what people perceive as LA with the sunny weather, big palm trees, and celebrities, contrasted with the intrepid, lonely reality. She says the title was a good fit for many reasons, one being there is a song on the album by the same name, which, “is one of the biggest, most different songs we’ve written” and the fact that she does much of her creative thinking at night. “It also ties in with the idea that, as natives of LA, Bobb and I know a lot of spots and places within and around the city that a lot of people don't really know or care to know,” Cosentino reveals. “There is a grittiness and darkness to Los Angeles. We related to the idea that things may LOOK or SOUND fun and upbeat, but they may not actually always BE that way, much like our songs.”
If you’ve never heard them live, there is certainly a ruggedness to their sound that is playfully contrasted with Cosentino’s light, flirty vocals. Their new lineup included three guitars, making them a five-piece band instead of the normal three or four. Though most of their songs can be played with three to four people, the new additions fit in and complemented their new, more sophisticated sound. Hearing them live, especially with the added guitars, was even grittier than on their record, as you could feel the sound reverberate around you and see the drummer and guitarists moving their arms a million miles a minute. Meanwhile, Cosentino is up there in the center going through all these different facial expressions as she sings about her many experiences, thoughts, and feelings. It was an emotional experience to watch them play, as I think all live art should be and the crowd responded.
The Bluebird was packed with all different types of people. Most of which was comprised by couples who would be singing or swaying along, not appearing that one had been dragged along by the other. In fact, most of the “woo!” ing came from guys, which is not too surprising. One would think Cosentino has a handful of men to choose from in any given city, yet her lyrics indicate she is still pining away for one good guy to give her a lasting happy love song.
Best Coast played a full hour and a half set with no breaks, just a minute at most between songs to say thank you, which she did after every song, and to take a drink. The majority of the set came off of their current California Nights, though they did play a few throwback favorites such as, “When I’m with You” and “Our Deal” and closed with their most popular track “Boyfriend”. Cosentino made it apparent she knew what a crowd pleaser that song is by joking, “I’ll give you $5 if you can guess what song we’re about to play to close off the night.” There were no outfit or set changes, special effects or special guests, but Best Coast brought their energy and authenticity to Bluebird Theater Monday night and that’s all us fans can really ask for.
Review: Tiffany Candelaria