Best Coast opened its Sunday-night set at the Granada with its current single, "The Only Place," the title track of its new album. With that homage to its native California, the band set the night's tone: summer vibes for a lazy holiday weekend.
Its touring lineup - a new drummer and a bass player - made for a fuller sound, something noticeably lacking in the past. The more traditional setup accommodated Best Coast's new material, which dominated the set.
Best Coast's lo-fi surfer rock found the center of a reverb scene when Crazy for You came out, in 2010. Bethany Cosentino's simple lyrics and Bobb Bruno's twangy, distorted guitar added up to something like a new 1960s girl group, and the formula mostly worked: melodic, earnest charm, low on obvious ambition. The Only Place sticks to that template but enhances Best Coast's sound, opening up the songs instrumentally and breaking out of the fuzz.
Consentino's new lyrics exhibit a little more darkness and depth, and the results Sunday night were often thrilling. Bruno stretched out, and songs like the tender "No One Like You" and "Mean Girls" demonstrated that Cosentino's clear tone is now matched by greater range and power. She's a more confident singer than she was on the Crazy for You
tour. And though there are more slow songs on the new album than on the last, the pace and energy of Sunday's show didn't suffer. "Dreaming My Life Away" gained in tempo, with stronger drums and that new bass, making it less moody and more robust.
The surprise of the evening was an encore cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Storms." Cosentino, almost unaccompanied, read the song with bare emotion, a moment that inched her closer to Jenny Lewis or Neko Case. Anyone with a doubt about Cosentino's talent as a singer got proof to spare that she really can sing. (She's also charismatic; her joking banter with the audience Sunday night repped a laid-back, down-to-earth stoner chick, to good effect.)
Jeff the Brotherhood started the night right with a rocking set that gathered momentum with dueling percussion and guitar. The duo's fuzzy, psych-punk garage rock left a fairly large, buzzing crowd ready to receive the band of the hour, which delivered.
The Only Place
Crazy for You
Sun Don't Shine
No One Like You
How They Want Me to Be
Why I Cry
Dreaming My Life Away
Lets Go Home
Do You Love Me Like You Used To
Up All Night
I Want To
Sun Was High
When I'm With You