Live Review: Best Coast with Cults, RNR Hotel, DC, 9-8-10

Contrary to the unfounded rumors i’ve been spreading to make myself sound like the Mack, even though Megan and i attended yet another concert (third in three weeks?) together, she is not my sugar mama, and i am not her bitch. Well, maybe the latter is true, but if you saw us together again last night, trust me, The Missus already knows and is cool with it. As such, expect Meg’s take on this one to follow yet again.

i believe i’ve come to the conclusion that the Rock and Roll Hotel is perhaps the worst venue to see live music in all of D.C. The sound system is atrocious, and apparently management has something against spending money on electricity. Not only are there no spotlights on the performers, but both fans and A.C. were left in the off-position for the duration of last night’s concert featuring the Cults and Best Coast, giving the show the dubious honor of literally being the smelliest show i’ve ever attended. About half way through Best Coast’s set, it smelled like a mixture of girls gym locker room and wet cat. Not a good combo, i guarantee.

Fortunately, the music was better. When i bought the tickets, i didn’t even know Cults were opening, which was a nice surprise. i’d only heard a handful of their singles, so i was quite surprised to see the full band. More surprising still was the amount of hair on stage for their performance. While bands bond over numerous things, from shared musical tastes to favored bands in common, i’m fairly sure Cults came together over a mutual love of rich, creamy shampoos and conditioners. The band was pleasantly spry, though their style was pretty consistent throughout, meaning not a lot of tempo changes or the like. And while this made them a perfect fit for BC, it didn’t make for the most exciting show. Add to the fact that lead singer Madeline Follin’s voice was pretty, but not particularly strong, and you get a better than average, but not stellar, performance. It probably would have been markedly better if i could have heard half of what she said and/or sang, but what can you do?

And i’d say about the same for Best Coast. Again, a lot of hair on stage (is that making a comeback? Do i need to work on a comb over now?). Now, fortunately, their lead singer, Bethany Cosentino, has a powerhouse set of pipes. Sure, she used the same echo effect on mic as Follin, but Cosentino’s voice never was lost amongst the backdrop of her bandmates. Speaking of bandmates, even though both bands play similar lo-fi, 50s/60s early rock with surfer tendencies, BC bassist Bobb Bruno adds heft to the sound. Now, i realize you’re either a fan of the sound or you’re not (i am, but am nearing my limits), but it would have been nice if they had thought their set through a bit more. The only upbeat songs came at the end during the encore. While there was a lot of swaying throughout the show, the bouncing that started at the end finished before it even got fully underway. Sure, Cosentino tried to make small talk periodically between songs, but the mixture of sweaty crotch and barely audible speeches did not do much to bring the crowd into the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, shitty venue and horrific crowd stench notwithstanding, it wasn’t a bad show. That being said, it certainly wasn’t the best i’ve seen this year, even if we’re only talking about the handful i’ve seen with my wonderful writing partner this past month.

Maybe i’m just a jealous bald guy, though. Hot chicks with long hair have that effect on me. Throw in the dudes with long hair, and i’m completely off my game.

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