This past Wednesday, surf-rock goddess Bethany Cosentino and her band Best Coast performed at the Pabst Riverside Theater along with opening band Cloakroom.
Best Coast is an indie-rock band from Los Angeles, California starting out in 2009 and releasing their first album “Crazy for You” in 2010. The last time Best Coast was in Wisconsin was for the 2014 Summerfest Lineup.
Cloakroom took the stage around 8 p.m. and fans gathered around the stage for the morose opener. The trio performed songs of the saddest melodies but with robust drums and melancholy vocals that carried the show. With songs titled “Starchild Skull” and “Moon Funeral,” it’s no accident that the band carries a somber aura to the stage.
As you could feel the bass drum and cymbals in your chest and ears, watching the bassist got you swaying into the thrashing mood as he rocked his body in beat with their songs. As they played “Bending,” another dejected, yet thrash-worthy song, the bodies of the crowd did just that.
Finally around 9 p.m., with the venue still slowly filling up, Best Coast took the stage strumming and last minute tuning of their guitars. Anticipation filled as Cosentino strutted her way from the wings to front and center.
“Heaven Sent” off their most recent album “California Nights” busted through the speakers and audience members began to gyrate, twirl and sing along. To be honest, I saw the girls of the crowd having the most fun jumping around with each other and appreciating the flawlessness of Cosentino. There was never a stiff soul in the venue as the infectious sounds of Best Coast resonated through the building.
As the show went on, Cosentino’s vocals did not fray but maintained the clear and forceful sound you hear on their albums. Her true talent was shown when she belted out long notes from their song “California Nights” off of their respective album.
Between songs, fans cheered and hollered with one person heard saying “you rock,” where Cosentino replied in a mousy voice “thanks” before starting up another rock ballad. The crowd’s movements were a combination of content swaying and rapid movements to the upbeat beach rock music, which is an accurate depiction of the band itself.
Best Coast ended with “Boyfriend,” a happy, lustful favorite from their 2010 album “Crazy For You,” as an encore song that left the triumphant crowd’s expectations fulfilled.
I truly enjoyed the opener, a despondent, hard-core band, and the main performance of Southern California electric rock. At the end, Cosentino thanked Milwaukee and said “I don’t mind the cold, it’s been really hot in L.A.,” with a collective groan from the audience.