Last Saturday night, Best Coast came to the First United Methodist Church in Iowa City. It’s safe to say that it was very different from your typical concert experience. Opening for Best Coast was Iowa City-based band Emperors Club. While the space created a really relaxed atmosphere, people were coming in throughout their entire set. Nonetheless, Emperors Club stuck it through and put a lot of energy into their performance. The band members were more than gracious after the show for the audience’s support.
Fortunately, the intimacy of the venue worked really well for Best Coast’s style. Before the band took the stage, Bobb Bruno himself helped set up the equipment. In the couple minutes before the concert began, the audience got out of their seats and started crowding the stage. By the time Best Coast swaggered their way on, fans were standing just a few feet in front of the band. After finishing their first song, Bethany Cosentino joked that, “You guys are so close. It’s weird having all these eyes on me.” Their laid-back attitude continued through the whole show, whether Cosentino was asking who was having a kegger that night or complaining about her bangs. It felt less like a concert and more like hanging out with friends, listening to an old classmate from high school play.
Best Coast might’ve acted like they were nothing special, but their performance said otherwise. They sounded just as full and energized as they do on their records, if not more so. Cosentino was in full-form. Every note she sang was right on, bright, clear, and full of inflections you can’t find in their recordings. The chorus of “Why I Cry” was positively explosive, as she wailed on “Do you know why I cry?” They played a good balance of songs from both Crazy For You and The Only Place and show-cased their new single, “Fear of My Identity” (which is available on eBay, but don’t buy it because apparently it’s super expensive). Highlights from the show included: “Crazy For You”, because they sang about weed in a church; “The Only Place”, which immediately got the audience grooving and moving; “Boyfriend”, the perfect, crowd favorite closer; and “How They Want Me To Be”, probably the most emotional performance of the night. Cosentino brought a raw yearning to her voice, and the audience couldn’t help but see it, hear it, and feel it. The lyrics came alive, and for a moment, the whole room was lost in the song.
It’s always refreshing to see a band perform that isn’t too rehearsed or are such veterans that the novelty of touring has worn off. Best Coast was just that, which made it all the more disappointing when they didn’t come back for an encore. But hey, no hard feelings. They might’ve had to run to catch the kegger.