Best Coast: The Ruby Lounge, Manchester 29/11/2010

By Joss Worthington

Call it Surf Pop, Noise Pop or Garage Rock, Best Coast are currently one of the best exponents of the genre. The key ingredient separating them from the rest of their reverb soaked contemporaries being the lovelorn vocals of Bethany Cosentino.

2010 has been kind to Best Coast. Debut album ‘Crazy for You’ is likely to make most top ten lists this year and the effervescent Cosentino is sure to be a darling of the music press for years to come. Which results in tonight’s gig at The Ruby Lounge being a sell-out.

Beginning with ‘Bratty B,’ the trio try to shake off the jet lag having only just arrived in Manchester this morning.  They’re not the tallest of groups and due to the packed out audience it’s pretty hard to make out what’s happening on stage, other than the bobbing head of guitarist Bobb Bruno.

Live, the songs are even rawer than on record, which gives me mixed feelings. The scuzzed up guitars (no bass) sound even better and Cosentino delivers her bittersweet longings to perfection, but the wall of sound harmonies featured so heavily on ‘Crazy for You’ are nowhere to be found.

It kind of makes me want to give Bobb Bruno and drummer Ali Koehler a nudge to get on the mic with her. Surely Koehler learned a thing or two about harmonisation during her time in the Vivian Girls?

‘Boyfriend’ prompts Cosentino to ask the audience to sing along. Her wry description of the song as ‘the one people know’ certainly rings true with the crowd who bop along enthusiastically. ‘It’s freezing cold outside, but it’s hot as balls in here!’ she quips to much bemusement. ‘Nobody gets my jokes over here?’ she further rambles. I thought it was funny.

When I’m with You’ and ‘Each and Every Day’ blast out the cobwebs and Cosentino (aided by wine) appears to be enjoying the gig more and more as the night goes on.

Having listened to ‘Crazy for You’ for the last few months, I have enjoyed immensely their stark yet carefully crafted pop songs. The recurring subject matter of Cosentino’s aching love life does grate a little after repeated playback, but tonight, Best Coast’s charm and simplicity melts my cynical heart.

 

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