Playful yet angsty, soulful but light; the dual essence of California’s golden coast filled an almost sold out Bluebird Theater Monday night. If you’ve ever been to the beaches of Los Angeles at night, you know the warm, hazy magic that happens once the sun sets. The vibe is free, open - but underneath the surface people can be just as broken as they are elsewhere. Best Coast’s singer/songwriter and guitarist Bethany Cosentino captures this truth in an alluring, feminine way. Old school surfer beats from the 1960s and catchy, poppy tunes are interspersed with more gut wrenching and soulful melodies.
It’s been five years since Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Brunois took the Bluebird Theater stage. I happened to attend their show in 2010 with a small-ish crowd of Denverites. Clearly, their following is growing. With a new album this year, and an established record label they are certainly gaining momentum.
Opening with tunes like Heaven Sent and The Only Place, the band started out on a lighter note. Whether or not you agree with the lyrics about California “why would you live anywhere else?”, you can’t deny the crowd was having a good time. The title song on their new album, California Nights, was certainly the crowd favorite with strung out guitar riffs and an airy ballad (check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U5LWokfRHY).
Later in the set, Costentino belted out songs like Our Deal, which explores bad relationships with lyrics like “that’s not my deal, that’s your deal” and “you take all my money, you take all my weed.” I have a feeling more than a few of the crowd members could relate, although a shortage of weed isn’t exactly a common problem these days in Colorado. In fact, the biggest crowd reaction was to Cosentino’s comment about the state’s affinity for the herbal vice.
The band closed with Sleep Won’t Ever Come, Jealousy, and When Will I Change. After leaving the stage, they came back to play one of their more poppy songs, Boyfriend. Acknowledging the song’s popularity, Cosentino teased “i’ll give you five bucks if you know the name of this song.” Overall, it was fun night to dance and play on East Colfax.
If you are interested in hearing more about Best Coast, Bethany Cosentino, and her songwriting inspirations, check out Colorado Public Radio’s interview here: https://www.cpr.org/openair/story/best-coast-insomnia-california-nights-and-being-misunderstood-grandma.