Best Coast at Clubhouse Music Venue Last Night

Categories: Last Night
Best Coast 1-22-2010-9.jpg
Shawn Anderson
Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino on stage at Clubhouse Music Venue on January 22, 2011.

You know what record is severely -- "criminally," one might say if they were given to old timey rock writer sayings -- underrated? Hole's Live Through This. Some (a lot? a bit? -- I'm not exactly sure) of this certainly has to do with the oft-whispered allegations that Kurt Cobain wrote the record. He may have (he didn't) but, either way, that does little to dull the fact that it's one of the very, very best albums of the 90s. In fact, if he had written it that'd be so much the better for its sterling reputation.

Live Through This is one conflicted woman's take on the grunge thing -- a big fuck you to both the boys club in Seattle and the riot chhhcks in Olympia -- and, in the right mood, I might argue that it's actually a more consistently impressive album than anything from the Nirvana catalog. Certainly, Live Through This is above anything done by the Soundgardens, Mudhonies, Screaming Trees, etc. I'd argue that, if you can set aside the cultural significance of Nevermind, it's easy to see Live Through This as the best album of the bunch.

The point is this: Sometimes there's a bunch of dudes making really, really great music in a cool scene, but it takes a woman to make the definitive statement and the closest-to-perfect record.

So it was that "Best Coast" was in slightly larger typeface on posters advertising last night's show with Wavves at Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe.

And why I decided before I went that I was going to dedicate my review to Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino and not her boyfriend, Nathan Williams.

Beth is the star of her scene on the strength of Crazy for You, an incredible collection of fuzzed-out longing that managed to become a bigger commercial force than her bf's King of the Beach as well as solid 2010 offerings from No Age and Abe Vigoda. As I've argued before, it's a concept record about a teenage longing for love and while some writers might say there's no way that can compare to a record about a mute kid who plays pinball or an alien rock star who comes to earth to bang groupies, I thought it was pretty great.

Anyway, it's good to see the focus on Bethany, even if a lot of it is Hipster Runoff hating on her. Notable, however, is that similar accusations of a MAN behind the curtain plague Bethany. Well, actually, her silent cohort Bobb Bruno is responsible for much of the band's signature sound.

Best Coast 1-22-2010-6-2.jpg
Best Coast actually has three members. This is one not named Bethany.

But, hey, Bethany is the band -- just look at the publicity shots. Her fucking cat gets more play than the dude who crafted her career. But Bobb knows what's up. The fact that looks matter as much as they do in the so totally unshallow indiesphere might not occur to him if he were from, say, Detroit. There, he may have ignored the problems associated with his skuzzstache and soft chin, and fuckin' done it anyway. But Bobb is from El Lay, baby, and he realizes throwing a little pretty on things will take 'em further. So Bethany is the band.

Bobb's shyness doesn't work in concert, however, and I'm sad to report that Bethany and Co. have some work to do. This was a pretty bad show -- surprising, considering the band was here two months ago and played a pretty solid set at Rhythm Room.

It wasn't Bethany's alleged aloofness that did her in, either. Her jokes weren't particularly funny -- a bit where she got the crowd to cheer enough to summon her sphinx-silent guitarist to the mic to say something, at which point he mumbled one syllable, 'yeah' or 'okay' or something, then stood back and smiled, was the highlight -- but she definitely seemed happy and made eye contact when not trying to play guitar.

However, the sound flat-out sucked. Despite her reputation for detachment, Bethany gamely battled through some of the worst sound I've ever seen at a show so large -- word around the campfire is that the bands brought out their own tech, presumably some stoner buddy from LA -- including an episode where her guitar fell silent during the opener, "I Want To." Then we got to watch her strum it for a minute while the roadie figured out what the hell was going on. He got sound... kinda. Paraphrasing a joke from Annie Hall, the sound sucked, and there was so little of it!

It was quiet enough to eavesdrop on conversations while standing next to the bar in the center of the room and I suspect people in the back could hardly tell what was happening during "Wish He Was You." Things were marginally better up front in the kiddie section during a cover of Loretta Lynn's "Fist City," which showcased Bethany's voice better than any song I've heard the band do. "Boyfriend," and "Honey," which came next, gave Bethany plenty of opportunities to stare down at her fingerings, an unfortunate habit even in a smaller room but really a problem here, especially without good, loud sound to focus on.

"Something In the Way" -- not a Nirvana song, Bethany pointed out, though she stole the title -- and "When You Wake Up" closed things out as the band slid off stage. The house lights didn't come on for at least 15 seconds, but there wasn't anyone clamoring for an encore, so eventually the lights just flipped awkwardly on as an MC told the crowd they were welcome to go next door (to a bar with shared ownership) and drink away the disappointment.

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Best Coast and Wavves at Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe.

The Crowd: Very diverse -- evenly split between Lolcat lovers and Hipster Runoff regulars.

Overheard: "Yeah, I think they would have done an encore if anyone had been cheering, but it was pretty quiet in there," said a guy crossing the street next to me.

Random Notebook Dump: Looks like the band was doing a lot of merch, which has to be of some consolation after such a shitty show. Wish these kids had seen the band back in November -- such a better show. Gonna be a long tour through middle America if the sound is so bad throughout.

One more thing: I found this photo of Wavves at SXSW 2009. My iPhone was so young and innocent then, and this kid hadn't yet freaked the fuck out in Spain and made himself the new Peter Doherty. Good times. If you want more current photos of Wavves check out our slideshow.

Martin Cizmar
Wavves in Austin at South by Southwest 2009.

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sound gangster
sound gangster

both wavves and best coast had a touring sound engineer for this show. blame the shitty sound on him. in his defense however, it is difficult to come into a venue you have never been to before and make it sound great without knowing the intricacies of the system.


That sucks the sound was so bad. I wanted to attend Saturday's concert, but passed when I saw it was at the Clubhouse. I met Bobb after the Rhythm Room show and he was such an outgoing and friendly guy. How were No Joy? I really enjoyed them at the November show.

girl from show
girl from show

I did find it funny that they did not get an encore... They just didnt give that infectious energy that usually gets the crowd pumped up. That being said I didnt think it was an entirely crappy show, at least waaves seemed to be able to get the crowd into the music. And sound issues aside, people can usually make the best of it if you give them something to work with.


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Surprise, surprise an extremely overhyped band disappoints live.

Cecilia Olea
Cecilia Olea

Yeah I was disappointed. I saw Best Coast at the Rhythm Room & I definitely prefer that show as well as the crowd. It was just a weird show & the sound didn't help...

Melissa Fossum
Melissa Fossum

"Green Eyes" by Wavves had the worst sound, which is a pity. It was nice to see Bethany be a bit more conversational this time around, but I wish they would have stuck with their original set. According to the setlist, they were supposed to close with "Each & Everyday".

This was quite the forgettable show.


interesting you thought this was a shitty show...

I thought it was the best show ive seen in months.

i liked the fact that it wasnt fucking perfect.. felt like i was at a real show.

bands like these rarely do an encore, i for sure wasnt expecting one. So i did not rabble rouse for one.

also... best coast and wavves sounded much better live at this show than the previous shows i have seen them at.


@gnar: Took the words right out of my mouth. I like both of the chords that Best Coast plays, but I would swear I've heard them somewhere before.

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

"bands like these rarely do an encore" -- I'm not sure where you pulled this little factoid but bands headlining a room with a 600 person capacity generally play encores.

Also, Best Coast did one at the last show here two months ago...


Sure they sold out a 600 capacity venue. but the reason I love best coast and wavves is exactly because they still sound like they are a local band. If i want some epic non intemate show, i will go see Kings of Leon, or The Killers. And yeah.. both those bands will do an encore without you even asking for one. Fuck that. Keep it local keep it raw. Keep it live. Keep it fun and Keep it fucking simple. Thats how I like my bands. Anyone seen a Jay Reatard show? So fucking good.. never played longer than 40 min dropped the guitar as soon as he's done and walks off.. Who the fuck needs an encore? Just play your shit. have fun. The fact that things where going wrong at the live show only made it more fun for me. Made me feel closer to the bands, like they are real people, made me feel like it was watching a local band where everyone is just having fun, enjoying company, and listening to some fucking rad tunes. I really thought it was an amazing show put on by both bands. Wavves had a very infectious energy and the crowd was definitly into it. I mean people where fucking crowd surfing! lmao. You dont see people doing that much anymore. Also, I dont know wtf you where expecting when you saw Best Coast. They are not a high energy band nor do they try to be. I fucking loved every single minute of it and so did everyone of my friends.. It was MOST DEFINITLY a better show than the one they did 2 months ago. You can't deny that. The sound was a little bad but have you ever heard their fucking albums????? Gimmie that shitty raw sound like i'm listening to some fresh new band playing at a dive bar. You guys where expecting too much. These are do it yourself bands not some pretentious studio fucking bands...

i really really thought this show was great.. Maybe you guys where just in a bad spot. I dunno

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