San Francisco has been feuding with Los Angeles for as long as both cities have been in existence. San Franciscans are pretty much disgusted by everything LA has to offer. Somehow, Best Coast have managed to survive that hatred. In fact, Best Coast are huge in the city by the bay. How did they do it? By being really good at what they do. And, last Thursday, they got to play San Francisco’s most revered music venue. The support? Another fine band from Los Angeles: Bleached.
Bleached are no strangers to playing the city by the bay. This is the third time we’ve had the pleasure of seeing the sisters Clavin in the city by the bay this year. And it, simply, doesn’t get old! Each time, the band is a little more focused, and the crowds are a little bit bigger, and a lot more into it. Tonight, there were plenty of people in the crowd that were pogoing up a storm and singing along. Their summery songs were perfect for the rare warm summer night in San Francisco, and the harmonies were practically pitch perfect. They covered a good majority of the excellent Ride Your Heart at this show, and even pulled out a cover of The Ramones’ “Here Today, Tomorrow The World.” Bleached are pure, delicious ear candy, and I think you deserve a snack.
Best Coast and I have had a rather difficult relationship. I didn’t particularly care for them at first. I held this judgement for a long time. It wasn’t until their performance at last year’s Treasure Island Festival when I finally actually gave them a fair chance. I was noticing that the absolute youngest people in the crowd (a group of kids around 5 or 6) were bouncing up a storm from the moment Bethany Consentino & Co took the stage. I thought to myself, “These kids are really enjoying this, and they have no preconceived notions at all about this band.” So I gave a closer listen, and I totally understood the appeal to the youngsters. Those rhythms were the perfect pogo beat. And then I caught on to something that the kids may have not been clued into. That voice. Consentino’s voice is a powerful device. It’s equal parts sugary sweet and heartbreaking. That’s a powerful tool, and she uses it well.
At the near capacity Fillmore, Consentino’s voice was in pure, amazing form. The whole band was sounding exceptionally tight, and they spent the majority of the first half of the set just playing the songs in a proper, enthused fashion. Lead guitarist Bobb Bruno was all over the place, pounding out leads and moving at a frantic clip on his side of the stage. They played a smattering of new material that sounded AMAZING!! Unlike some bands that move away from their punky roots as they get older, Best Coast sound like they are getting more energized and punkier. “This Early Morning” was a notable stand out track that they said will be appearing on a new record that comes out next year. It was a fast and bubbly number that sounded as if Neko Case joined The Replacements.
So, yes, the band sounded great. Even better was when Consentino decided it was time to start interacting with the crowd. Then it got exceptionally goofball! At first, there was a request for a Cranberries cover. So the band did as they would, and started attempting to play “Dreams.” Then, a few songs later, we got an attempt at “Zombie.” Then Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” Then we got a series of stories about parties in LA that included the amazing advice, “Don’t do acid on a balcony.” The historically stone serious Best Coast were in overwhelmingly goofy mode, and I was more than pleased with this. The band was comfortable, relaxed, and having the time of their lives.
Best Coast owned their stint at The Fillmore Auditorium, and I would be happy to make their acquaintance again. The new record is due out this fall, and if this show is any sort of indication, it’s going to be on everyone’s best of the year list.