May 4, 2010
A cursory glance at the bands to have graced Tuesday-night London-staple White Heat‘s stage over the years reveals an unbalanced combination of temporary fad bands, and bands who have gone on to far greater things. Hype dictates this, so here I am to see what side of the fence Bethany Cosentino sits on…
Best Coast, by nature of the songs at hand, sit somewhere in between the two. “How so, o’ fence-sitter?” Well, frustrations with the knowingly teenage all-pedals/no-tunes substance of the songs are beset with the admission that this much was obvious. She never pretended to do anything else, and I chose to be here.
The lo-fi is cute at first, short songs all summery and swoony, but the sound here tonight is atrocious – not just because the drummer (borrowed from Vivian Girls, fact-fans) is so busy acting mardy she forgets to sit back and dare I say enjoy the set, but also because the pedal-heavy sounds still-crystalline and not quite messy enough. The young and simple nature of Best Coast and the brattishness of their attitude are a natural, borderline parodial fit, just an exceptionally tiring one to watch for this long.
The idea behind Best Coast’s short and sweet boyfriend-anecdotes is delirious on record but here, it feels frustrating and stretched out. The “when I’m with you/ I have fun” line of ‘When I’m With You’ is adorable but in this too-long set, the songs are irksomely small and cute. The surprise strength is Cosentino’s vocals, which are far more menacing than expected – the delicious leanback on ‘Sun Was High (So Was I)’ sounds blanket-like here, all sunny and beachy.
The venue’s technical problems form a sizeable part of the negative but that aside, a 14-year-old standing on stage talking in a super-high accent about her boyfriend might well have done the trick. But isn’t that the ultimate compliment? I’m torn.