The backdrop depicted a large bear embracing the state of California, a nice metaphor for the music emanating just a few yards closer.
By JOEL FRANCIS
Special to The Star
For 75 minutes Sunday night at the Granada in Lawrence, indie pop duo Best Coast showcased the many of the Golden States finest musical attributes girl groups, surf guitars and bubbly pop melodies about summer and love.
The band makes a strong case for being their home states finest musical ambassadors since the Beach Boys. Opening number The Only Place, which also opens and titles their recently released sophomore album, set the stage. Weve got the ocean/got the babes/got the sun/got the waves, Beth Cosentino sang over jangly guitars. \
So leave your cold behind/were gonna make it to the beach on time.
The sun is usually out in Cosentinos musical world, but not always in her heart. Her lyrics are direct and confessional, often reading like diary entries about lost, misplaced or inconvenient love. The bands 2010 debut had a lo-fi feel that added to the intimacy of her words. Onstage, the twosome of Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno are touring with a bass player for the first time. Combined with a new drummer, they finally had a live rhythm section that adds muscle and potency to the music.
The bass added depth to the sound and gave Bruno more freedom on his guitar. The drumming enhanced the sense of desperation in Why I Cry and gave urgency to Angsty.
For 75 minutes, the Cosentinos pop memoirs of longing came tumbling one after another, comprising nearly all of The Only Place, more than half of their debut Crazy For You and a handful of singles.
The whole room was dancing for the bouncy pairing of Lets Go Home and Our Deal, but the slower material went over just as well thanks to Cosentinos captivating voice. An emotional cover of Fleetwood Macs Storms hinted at the direction Cosentinos songwriting may be headed. It covered the same romantic terrain, but boasted more lyrical maturity and depth.
Cosentino and Bruno clearly arent tired of playing Boyfriend, their breakout hit. Cosentino threw herself into the delivery, nearly growling the words how I want him. The pair were all smiles throughout the one-two of early singles When Im With You and Boyfriend that ended the night.
Just as Best Coast benefited away from the blistering sun and heat that capsized their mid-day slot at Kanrocksas last summer, opener Jeff the Brotherhood was better suited for the Granada than the cavernous Midland Theater, where they opened for the Kills last winter.
The sibling duo from Nashvilles half-hour set was driven by guitarist Jake Orralls 3-string, hybrid guitar. The axe featured a Gibson body and bass neck and was filtered, flanged and phased about every way imaginable, often sounding like Black Sabbaths meeting with Swamp Thing. The high point of their set was Im a Freak, a straight-up, classic rock guitar jam in the vein of Stranglehold.
Setlist: The Only Place, Last Year, Angsty, Summer Mood, Goodbye, Crazy For You, Sun Dont Shine, No One Like You, How They Want Me To Be, Why I Cry, Mean Girls, Dreaming My Life Away, Lets Go Home, Our Deal, Do You Love Me Like You Used To, Up All Night. Encore: I Want To, Sun Was High, Storms (Fleetwood Mac cover), When Im With You, Boyfriend