Best Coast @ Woodland 10.03.2011

First published on Collapse Board, 16.03.2011.

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to be in a popular band and play on stage at a sold out show to a front row of people with their iphones held aloft, recording the moment for later playback rather than living than moment.  It always ends with the same conclusion that it must be as depressing as hell to be in that position.  Tonight it’s where Best Coast are, although they don’t seem fazed by it in the slightest; I guess they’ve gotten used to it in the last year.

I saw Best Coast for the first time late last year at ATP’s Bowlie 2 at Butlins Minehead.  Having loved the summer-y, surf-pop of the their debut album, Crazy For You, the loss of vocal harmonies and the ever-present reverb of their record when they play live meant I was really disappointed for much of their set.  Bizarrely by the time they finished I was enjoying them more although I wasn’t sure why, whether I’d gotten use to their live deficiencies or whether it was because  after the initial disappointment, the songs were able to hold their own without the obvious missing ingredients.

Tonight they sound better than they did at Minehead but that’s largely due to a difference in sound systems.  The Centre Stage at Minehead boasts a far superior system that only highlighted Best Coast’s live limitations, whereas the more muddy Woodland sound means that they can get away with it more.  However, as with many three-pieces, there’s an emptiness in the sound and they would benefit by an additional member when playing live to beef up the sound and ideally provide some of the much-missed vocal harmonies.

Final words go out to Woodland, tonight’s venue.  Being a Thursday night, having a full-time job and needing to go to work on Friday morning, I am less than impressed when Best Coast are advertised on Woodland’s Facebook page the day before the show as starting “around 11”.  On the day, this is updated to confirm that support band Feathers are on at 10 and Best Coast at 11.  In the end I’m happy that these times are brought forward 30 minutes, even though I only get to see the last three songs Feathers play, although if I’d been relying on the advertised 11pm start time I might have been less than happy if I’d paid to see the band.  Either way, I’m going to say it again, even though I’m sick to death of saying it, anywhere near 11pm is just far too late for a venue to be putting on its headline act on a weeknight and there’s no excuse for tonight’s show to not be earlier when there’s only two bands on the bill.  Maybe if I keep saying this, some of the venues most guilty of late start times will start thinking about how irritating it is and how much it alienates anyone with a proper job from thinking about going out to mid-week shows.

In the meantime here’s some really terrible photos (sorry about that; horrible lighting and dark).

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