While many bands these days seem to be touring in celebration of a past album, surfy indie rockers Best Coast and Wavves are currently celebrating the fifth anniversary of their Summer Is Forever double-headlining Tour, with the Summer Is Forever II tour. Each tour had the bands bringing their beachy vibes to the mid-Atlantic during our usually-frosty Februaries. In 2011 the band found themselves at the moderately intimate [and since re-branded] Starlight Ballroom [Where I have vividly imprinted on my memory the boys of Wavves pummeling the audience with a barrage of beach balls as they kicked out their punky, SoCal jams, and which Best Coast frontperson Bethany Cosentino remembers for showing up onstage, fresh out of the hospital, in sweatpants and heels]. This past Wednesday, February 17, the two bands found themselves just two blocks away from the original Summer Is Forever stop, at the not-even-remotely-intimate Electric Factory, for the biggest headlining date either band has seen in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.
Each band graced the mega-room with 70-minute sets that spanned their respective catalogues. Wavves was up first, whose hour+ of pop punk did a good job of revving up the audience (many of whom seemed to primarily be there for this heavier-of-the-two-acts), but it was Best Coast’s slightly sunnier, definitely-more-mellow set that proved to be the evening’s highlight. Although their production was relatively minimal, Bethany Cosentino clearly looked and sounded a 21st Century Hall of Fame Frontperson in disco hot pants (the coolest thing I’ve seen any performer rock in 2016) and a bevy of mesh, as she churned out a collection of sandy love, anti-love, and post-love songs. Their set began with groovy garage anthem “When I’m With You,” followed by “Do You Love Me Like You Used To,” a seeming ode to both girl groups and folk pop of the 1960s. The remainder of the band’s set weaved in and out of the bands three LPs, although both the band and the audience seemed to emphasize their 2010 debut, Crazy For You, and their most recent, California Nights (released last year).
Best Coast’s set came to a close with “When Will I Change” a recent number more-than-a-little-reminiscent-of late-80s/early-90s alt rock balladry from the likes of Tanya Donelly or her stepsister, however, the band returned to the stage momentarily for an encore of “Bratty B,” possibly their most sassily spitty tune, which resembles many of the beautifully less-sentimental heroines of that golden age of alt rock. And while Ms. Cosentino and partner in crime Bobb Bruno did quite the admirable job of keeping a massive crowd sufficiently cozy and warm with their brand of sonic sunshine, at least a little credit for some of the highlights of the night must go to a third party, who contributed to some of its most memorable moments… Garfield, the cat… Yes, some brave [and questionable…] individual attended the concert in a convention-ready furry costume of America’s snarkiest cat, who not only crowd surfed through part of the band’s set, but actually lent their massive feline head to Bethany to wear during their performance of 2010 major indie hit, “Boyfriend.” (Check out @skokie11’s photo below.)