TVD Live: Best Coast at the 9:30 Club, 6/16

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | On the heels of the release of their third studio album, Best Coast took over the east coast Tuesday night as they played to a sold-out crowd at DC’s 9:30 Club. It was a familiar setting for the band who was there for the third time as headliners for a packed house, as front-woman Bethany Cosentino pointed out about halfway through the show.

Technically a duo, they were accompanied by a drummer, bassist, and additional guitarist for the live show, because it seems Bobb Bruno has yet to master playing all of these instruments simultaneously. While both members of the duo have versatile musical backgrounds, they seem to have found a groove within their surf-rock sound.

Although on the recorded tracks the vocals are usually layered beneath reverb, there were no such effects for the live show. However, Bethany’s vocals were strong enough to carry the songs without any issue. They definitely brought their A-game to the 9:30 Club, but with a casual attitude crafted by years of playing festivals and headlining shows.

While not a particularly chatty group, Bethany got some laughs when she pointed out that the venue smelled like toast for a portion of the show (I thought it was more like pizza, but I’m not the authority here) and some groans when she made an inevitable “club goin’ up on a Tuesday” joke. The other half of the duo got the most audience reaction when he riffed between songs while Bethany traded out between her guitar and tambourine.

The band glided through all of the crowd favorites from their first two albums, including “Our Deal” and “The Only Place,” along with plenty of new material, like title track from the new album California Nights, that had the entire mellowed-out audience bobbing their heads and, of course, singing along. They saved their most popular song, “Boyfriend,” for very last, playing it as the second encore song, and threw in a curve ball for their first encore by covering Oasis’s “The Hindu Times,” which elicited excitement from about half of the crowd and confusion from the rest. Either way, they nailed the song as if it was their own.

The opening act, Bully, definitely held their own to a crowd who seemed largely disinterested, simply waiting for Best Coast to arrive. Although surrounded by a sea of faces in cell phones, I was impressed by Bully’s tenacity as well as their clean, rock sound. It is a refreshing trend that lineups are including multiple bands with awesome female vocalists/guitarists, and the pairing of grunge-influenced Bully and laid-back Best Coast works perfectly.

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