Review: Best Coast Live In Vancouver

Live Review: Best Coast Live with special guests Mannequin Pussy
Best Coast photo by Leslie Chu

It’d been five years since Best Coast played Vancouver, but they were in top form at Venue Nightclub last night.

Openers Mannequin Pussy also had a spectacular showing. Much unlike Best Coast, though, Mannequin Pussy burned with fury and rage. Searing in-your-face rippers like “Everything” had singer Marisa Dabice in full punk posture, leaning down towards the front row audience or nearly collapsing to the floor.

“The reason we scream is because there’s so much that happens around us every day that just makes us want to scream,” she told the audience. “It’s things that happen to us. It’s things that happen to people we love. It’s things that happen around us. Because it’s not acceptable in the streets, we created a space where it is acceptable.”

And although feedback-drenched destroyers like “F.U.C.A.W.” were absolute highlights, some of Mannequin Pussy’s best moments came when she quieted down from blood-curdling screams and growls into near-ASMR whispers. And though not necessarily quiet, the “really slow sad song” (as she put it) “High Horse” was a visceral vignette with her belting out lyrics about an abusive relationship.

Like fallout from a twister, thick, droning synth led Best Coast, fleshed out as a five-piece including the core duo of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno, onstage. But instead of more doom and gloom, they began with the dreamy “California Nights.” From there, it was a straight shot of energy with “Different Light” and “Wreckage,” from their latest album, Always Tomorrow. And although the sweet and whimsical “For the First Time” wafts like a care-free jaunt, they played it with more oomph, with Cosentino on keys.

Other new songs were well-received, among them “Used To Be,” “Make It Last,” “Rollercoaster,” and “Graceless Kids.” But Best Coast’s classics continued proving their longevity: “Crazy For You” and “Goodbye” were noticeably fuzzier than the polished latter-day material and moved with an underlying chug. Although, Best Coast mellowed the tempo for “Our Deal” and, from their sophomore album, The Only Place, the lovestruck “No One Like You.”

Last week, Cosentino told Northern Transmissions you get what you put out. If Best Coast were phoning it in last night, none was the wiser. But still, she asked the audience, “Are you guys alive? You don’t sound that alive.” They cheered to prove her wrong. “Okay, just checking. Maybe this will lift you up,” she said, still unconvinced, before diving into the celebratory “Everything Has Changed.”

One notable change, as far as Best Coast’s Vancouver shows go, was that the band played an encore. Crazy For You cuts “When I’m with You,” which began with Cosentino strumming her guitar alone onstage, and “Boyfriend” made up the last of the set list. It was a brief encore, and if it wasn’t enough for fans, there’s always tomorrow. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take Best Coast another five years to come back.

Review by Leslie Chu