all words: Shona Fenner
all photos: Julia Benton
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Wavves’ Nathan Williams are both leaders of their respective bands AND a crazy awesome indie power couple. Luckily enough these bands have a similar fan base and can wow us with a joint tour. In fact, I really wonder why they don’t just tour together constantly. Anyways we got to experience this fantastic stoner tour collaboration on Monday night at 9:30 club, and I wish I could go to this show every week for a year. These two bands, along with Spin and MtvU, have set up a 26-stop tour in order to help us get through a long and grey winter. A healthy dose of that chillwave California-feel is just what we all needed.
First up was a band that Beast Coast once claimed to be “the best band ever”. No Joy is a duo of shaggy and grungy hip girls from Montreal. I am not sure if this group is worthy to be called the best ever, but it is safe to say that they were the best openers I have seen in awhile. They have an album out called Ghost Blonde which seems appropriate since both guitar-playing singers have that surfer blonde chick look going on. I dig these gals’ style quite a bit, especially since they played an entire set without once really letting us see their faces through wavy walls of hair. You can tell they have a penchant for 90’s tunes and grunge culture. No Joy is a band that seems almost designed to appeal to me. I saw them described as the “female version of No Age” and would agree 100%. They have a good mix of heavy guitars, atmospheric vocals, shoegaze influence, and a healthy dose of feedback, all with that bouncy noise-pop vibe. These gals have a music video for their song “Hawaii” that should give you a completely accurate impression of No Joy.
Being a huge fan of Wavves I was totally amped to see them come on stage next. I have seen them a couple times now and was at their last DC show at RnR Hotel. One thing this band always succeeds in doing is playing my favorite songs and therefore making me dance around like an ecstatic fool. And so the set began strong and fast while I was surrounded by other BYT-ers, way up in the front, and shaking my shoulders around until I actually had some personal space. Wavves just felt so good and made me forget that I had shown up to this show in a winter jacket. It is no wonder they have an album out called King of the Beach because the band literally oozes with those broke summer vacation feelings.
They played each song with a lot of energy, while still maintaining their absent-minded stoner personas. This show was a little mellower than their last in DC, but Wavves still got some of the crowd shoving each other and dancing weirdly once we were a couple songs in. This concert also showed us some crowd surfing that was astoundingly quick off the draw. Anyone who has the drive to throw themselves up on stage and into the crowd so early on either needs to take a chill pill or become my new best friend. Wavves carefree lo-fi sound and chilled out skater punk feel is blatantly obvious. The combination of songs about being bored, slacking off, and not giving a shit and the HUGE gold chain (that Nathan Williams may well have stolen from Mr. T) helped me remember not to take anything seriously… ever. A worthy lesson on a Monday.
If you haven’t heard of Wavves before let me recommend going to their Myspace and giving a listen to “Post-Acid”. You can also take a look at my review from the last time Wavves came through our fair city here.
Best Coast was next and surpassed my expectations. Usually I completely ignore sticky-sweet indie rock like this, but Californians Best Coast is a little different. It is as if She & Him started actually being fun and could appeal to more than just girls who wear vintage dresses. Best Coast has a limited subject range in their music however. They have songs about dating, boyfriends, guys you wish were your boyfriend, and spending time with your crush/boyfriend. Again, subject matter that should get boring and dull for me but doesn’t. Maybe it is singer Bethany Cosentino’s love of cats, but something makes her irresistible. Alright I think it really is just the cats, which made for some adorable stage banter when a crowd member yelled something and the response was that her cat was doing just fine thank you.
Bethany and the rest of Best Coast played a long set that combined a 60’s pop feel with lo-fi hazy vocals and a ton of charm. Her voice made a bigger impression than anybody else in the band, which was kind of a disappointment. I really just want to hear some drums and bass no matter what and it seemed like we could have been without a drummer and never noticed. The high point of the Best Coast set likely was when they played “Crazy For You”. It seemed to me that nobody cared that the only songs we could all sing along with happened to be the famous ones.
Coming to the show that night I almost got patted down by security, both before and after I went outside to eat the chocolate chip cookie I had brought along with me. This suspicious baked-goods smuggler overcame my initial irritation and went on to have a grand old time. I got to hangout with a great gang of BYT interns, run into a friend who came up all the way from Richmond just for the show, and pay way too much for some completely delicious shooters. The whole experience was just right from where we stood, all up in the front. I am curious to know if the same immediacy and grinning was experienced by all you people behind us.