Hype is a hard thing to overcome. Whether we're talking bands or freeway closures, it usually means a letdown. Last Saturday, one of L.A.'s most hyped bands (at least by media, here included) Best Coast, played a free show preceding an upcoming event nearby that we're even sicker of hearing about (guilty again): Carmageddon! The Twitter pages, the phone apps, the drink specials … are they really all going to be necessary or is this potentially catostrophic 3-day event simply going to mean little more than inconvenience for regular weekend 405-ers and an excuse to stay home or try public transit for those of us who never go near it anyway? This ain't The Rapture, people. Well, actually…
Who knows, maybe the vroom-doomers will be right. Road rage may ensue. Automotive pee jugs may be necessary. Our usual clubbing commute to Hollywood or the Sunset Strip from Silver Lake may be a nightmare. The horror: Fountain Ave. might even be crowded! If this happens, we'll cuss in our car and admit the error of words … in print too.
After all, we can admit right here that we've been not so right about Best Coast. Never quite “got” them or their popularity. The songs are alright, some pretty even, and the singer, Bethany Cosentino, seems cool (maybe not this cool), more like the kind of chick you'd make friends with in the bathroom at Echo, complimenting each others dresses or something. After seeing them for free Saturday evening, in the Getty Museum's courtyard for its outdoor music series called “Saturdays Off the 405,” we think we get it now.
Amid the hilltop breezes, holding plastic cups of wine, and amped by the obviously passionate hordes singing along softly but intently to every word, we were gripped by Best Coast's stripped down melodies. Sure, a lot these songs seem similar. But at this point, it's what's called a signature sound: cute, somewhat girly, but feisty too, with claws/riffs just sharp and angsty enough to please both sexes and all ages. Kinda like kitty cats, which have become the band's de facto mascots (plush felines were even sold at the merch table). Bonus points to the band walking out to Grease soundtrack classics, “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” and “Summer Lovin.'”
We didn't feel that BC's awkwardly hip presence or bittersweet choruses held their own when we saw 'em open up for Weezer at the Gibson Amphitheatre, but at the Getty everything just fit. The sound was great, the crowd was chill (Beth's nerd boy stalkers were maybe a bit pushy up front) and opener DJ Kevin Fitzgerald (Circle Jerks, Geraldine Fibbers) provided a great warm-up (groovy 45's from '60's). From the tatted and vintage-frocked who camped out early to the sandaled stroller pushers who meandered in and out of exhibits, there was a casual California charm to the whole scene, and the band provided truly the best soundtrack we could possibly imagine to go with it.
Best Coast may have just earned placement on our Carmageddon mixtape!
The Getty will be closed this weekend during the 405 closure.”Saturdays Off The 405” returns with Lord Huron and DJ Boom Bip on July 30.
Follow Lina Lecaro on Twitter @L_in_A.