I Saw Best Coast (and Strapping Fieldhands)
Re-examining Crazy For You (perfect title, btw), my foot went directly in mouth. After seeing Bethany Cosentino and Best Coast live, a band crush developed -- foot has been yanked through skull and out the back of my head. It was likely a journalistic grudge that kept me from being smitten. There were weeks spent tracking down America's latest sweetheart too busy for an interview. Her songs are instant hummers, almost too simplistic to commend. Her story -- from mediocre noise troupe to Spector-spit Girl-Group pop, too easy to shoot holes through. So, an interview with America's latest Cali stoner tart would be comprised of questions about week and the Ronettes (or even baser, the Viv' Girls). Mind numbing gnawing you wouldn't want to read for the nth time.
An impromptu "interview" with Cosentino backstage at her recent Columbus show revealed an evolution I didn't expect. She's well aware of the simplicity of it all, how a set is composed in five minutes shuffling around the same 13 songs in a more pleasing manner than the last. I suggested "Bratty B" to lead things off. It's easily Cosentino's most simple ditty, the catchiest thing you don't want to catch yourself singing. It might result in an endless string of rhymes, over and over in your head the day long -- the sign of a wonderful piece of songwriting. Done before? A million times. But having kids in dorm rooms cop your stuff as bohemian acoustic fodder is another level these days.
Who wants to gamble, this song will end up on American Idol this year?
Best Coast's focus, or blurred vision of the classics, is a flawless design. She shimmies and smiles in time with the songs -- her co-writer, Bobb Bruno giving mammoth riff behind her light strumming -- and Ali K. (formerly of the Viv' Girls) plays the role of minimal, shamble-pop drummer to perfection (an indie mercenary/franchise kicker). It's evolution from two years ago -- and you either prefer both (the raucous and wild/the sparkle and sway) or sit cross-armed on one side of the fence. The amount of stranger sweat I was doused in gave me pause to think most kids prefer the sparkle and sway. I enjoy either if it's done right. She's right by me.
Unfortunately the hoopla got in the way of enjoying the revived Strapping Fieldhands. I'm thinking these guys should'a played an early set as well, but the lack of consumption might have dulled them? Stumbling in at their beginning was my end on a school night. I got to see about 10 songs, all pulled from the past, still as obtuse and toppling over with wonderfully antiquated pop. Thanks to the diligent efforts by one Speery, you can relive that entire set RIGHT HERE. They haven't seem to lost a beat, though a vacuum of years have gone by. Witness them doing a personal favorite, "Ben Franklin Airbath" in the year 2010.