Professional Californians Best Coast played Atlanta, Georgia's Variety Playhouse last night. But before they took the stage, Orange County's The Lovely Bad Things opened.
Their set was loud and energetic, but marred with some technical difficulties (non-functioning guitar pedals) and other mishaps. I've vowed a while ago not to post negative comments about bands but to instead try to find the positive, and for The Lovely Bad Things, I can honestly say this: they have a lot of potential.
I hadn't heard the next band, Guards, before, but they are already my favorite new band so far of 2013. Their pop sensibilities fit in well with Best Coast (you can see why they were asked to be tour mates), but they are far more ambitious musically and sonically, featuring interesting instrumental interplays and vocal harmonies. I liked their set from the beginning of their first song to their way-too-soon closer.
Guards often are compared to the band Cults. Having now seen both bands, I can say that, musically, the similarities are more apparent in recordings than live, but the main reason for the comparisons are that Guards' frontman, Richie Follin, is the brother of Cults' lead singer Madeline Follin and a former touring guitarist for Cults.
But there are even more similarities: Richie Follin bears a striking resemblance to Cults' Brian Oblivion - in fact, throughout the show, I thought Follin actually was Oblivion. Since Oblivion and Madeline Follin are not only bandmates but also romantic partners, it seems that Madeline has chosen as her lover a spitting image of her own brother. Meanwhile, her brother has been romantically linked to Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, who's sung on some Guards songs and bears a striking resemblance to Madeline. To complicate matters even further, current Guards member Kaylie Church (keyboards and vocals) looks a lot like both Madeline and Caroline. This is a group that could make the Lanisters envious.
But enough of all that - I'm starting to sound like a tabloid journalist. The point is that they make damn fine music, and I'm looking to hearing more from them - they were the highlight of the evening.
We last saw Best Coast on the West Coast, Seattle to be specific, during last year's Bumbershoot when they opened for M83. They've only been on this current tour since May 25, but they appeared tired at times last night and it seemed plausible that they've been more-or-less on the road since that September 2012 Bumbershoot date.
The unintended highlight of the set was when Bethany Cosentino allowed a young man up on stage to dance along to one song. A young lady soon followed (possibly his girlfriend, although it wasn't clear if they knew each other or not), and they made the most of their three minutes on stage, dancing, snapping pictures of themselves with Bethany, chatting with guitarist Bob Bruno, and then stage-diving into the audience before they wore out their welcome.
Best. Date. Ever. I hope they were a couple (or are now).
In any event, the band ran through their familiar list of sunny pop tunes with a minimum of banter. There were no surprise covers, like her performance of Fleetwood Mac's Storms when she played the Variety Playhouse last year, but in any event they were able to satisfy the crowd with their closing string of hits, such as Boyfriend and When I'm With You.
Post-Script: I don't know if the band found any energy to go out after last night's show, but someone posted this picture of Cosantino at The Clermont Lounge after last year's gig: