For part 1 of our 2-night Best Coast concert review, click here for the sights and sounds of Best Coast at the Majestic Theater in Madison
Shrugging their shoulders at the canceled Somerset Festival in which they were a key headliner, Best Coast decided to find a venue – and quickly. So 465 fans squeezed into a vibrant, sold-out show on a refreshingly comfortable night in the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis for the final show of the current US Best Coast tour. Now the Cedar isn’t my favorite Minneapolis venue. In fact, I would scratch my head should anyone in Minneapolis tell me it’s their’s. It’s about as low key as low key goes and has no spectacular features. Actually it revels at being entirely unspectacular. But what the Cedar has going for it is a potpourri mix of fans that fill the place. Standing outside the Cedar, in a very long waiting line, a quick glance would provide you no hint of the genres that Best Coast refuses to be swallowed up by. T-shirts adorning groups like the Sundays and the Black Keys summed it up best (it’s hard to imagine two groups with sounds any further apart than the Sundays and the Black Keys). With a triple feature from Those Darlins, Jeff the Brotherhood and a rushed (venue time limit must have been in effect) Best Coast, the show was outstanding.
What the Cedar Cultural Center lacks in amenities it makes up for in anything-goes. It’s the classic, old-school plug-in-your-own amp atmosphere that only hid the faces of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno prior to their actual performance. While the crowd tried to turn it into Karaoke night with requests of “My Sharona” (which earned a quick negatory from Mr. Bruno (and from me to Mr. Bruno, I say “thank you”)), Cosentino and Bruno chatted prior to each of the final seven or eight songs, improvising the setlist at a brisk pace. Skipping the encore, Cosentino proclaimed “we’re just going to play straight through rather than make you stand here and believe that we’re gone and then walk back out”. No encore but a full setlist indeed. Where the Madison show prior featured the long guitar into into “Our Deal”, this time Cosentino looked to her bandmates and simply said “no intro” as she opened Best Coast’s most popular song with it’s killer opening line, “When you leave me…”.
The synergy between Cosentino and Bruno was on showcase all night as his beautiful guitar undercurrent builds the pedestal that Cosentino strums guitar and sings upon. Filled with equal parts liquid courage and overt sexiness Cosentino is the night’s highlight. It’s her voice with her lyrics that shine brightest on this tour. But still, Bruno’s contributions can’t be overstated as he’s the perfect complement to Cosentino’s hometown look and vibe. Together they become completely engaged by the crowd but for very different reasons. Bruno gets the bear hugs. Cosentino gets the free drinks. What she might lack in onstage charisma at times she makes up for in consistency, with every song sung to near perfection, highlighted by the shivering cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Storms”. I’ll be shocked to see Best Coast back at the Cedar in 2013 or 2014. They’ve outgrown it, or graduated from it. First Avenue awaits.