The Borderline is unsurprisingly sold-out tonight for the appearance of Bethany Cosentino aka Best Coast. Technically a two-piece, with Bobb Bruno on guitar, and expanded to a four-piece live with drums and bass guitar, this is still and always was the Bethany show. American indie darling, pin-up (of sorts) and lately fashion designer, Cosentino seems in a good mood, probably happy to be back in a venue more suited to her lo-fi girl pop musings than the Shepherds Bush Empire, the ostentatious setting for her last London show. The group spring confidently into their first number.
What follows is a mixed bag of highlights from the band’s first album Crazy For You and its pale imitation follow-up The Only Place with Bethany in very good voice. This is just as well because, although there is much to admire in their brand of West Coast indie pop, it’s a brittle house of simplistic chords and repetitive lyrical themes that the singer’s voice rests upon. For an adult to truly enjoy an hour’s worth of primitive songs about cats and boyfriends seems a slightly weird experience. But enjoy it they do – and with songs as catchy as ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Crazy For You’ there are obvious moments to cherish.
As her voice echoes with Wall Of Sound reverb against jittery Modern Lover rhythms and a flurry of pleasingly simple notes on Bobb’s guitar, you’re transported to a time and place that was thought to have evaporated when the Beach Boys put down their surfboards – a California of dreams, heartbreak and never ending summers. Then funnily, a strong aroma permeates the venue, totally appropriate of course, but clearly unlikely in these non-smoking days. I guess Best Coast’s music has more power than at first glance. Soon the band are playing ‘When The Sun Don’t Shine’ from the classic first album and thoughts turn to a different California of pot brownies, tattoos and Warpaint, and initial scepticism is dispelled into the ether.
At one point Bethany says to the packed crowd that “she thought it would be hotter in here tonight”, she may have been missing her Cali sun, but ultimately, this London crowd thought they were hot stuff.