Best Coast at Bottom of the Hill, Photo by Martin Lacey
Photos by Martin Lacey

California natives Best Coast aren’t known for subtlety. The lyrics, the songwriting, and the guitar tone – they all revolve around a simplified, overly sunny version of the West Coast – presumably inspired by lead singer Bethany Cosentino’s own life experiences. So it made sense when the band came out last night as a five piece to thicken the sound — a few details might have been lost, but that’s a small price for Best Coast to pay.

Playing an extra small, nearly sold out (I heard there were some tickets available at the door) show at Bottom of the Hill is a departure for the band after a steady rise to a higher level of fame with their catchy, sunset pop. The set was a mix of older classics (“When I’m With You”, “Crazy For You”) and new songs from their upcoming album California Nights. The newer songs were more brooding than the best-known Best Coast songs, but sounded full and meaty with the new five-piece arrangement.

Openers The She’s sounded as musically in-step as I’ve ever heard them — the 45 minute set might have been a bit long but they managed to nonetheless make the best of the timeslot with their throwback pop. Bay Area-based four piece Night School sounded a bit like a baby Best Coast, a bit sloppy at times but still throwing themselves into the music. The crowd appreciated the effort and it fit the theme: don’t sweat the small stuff, you live in California; let’s go have some fun.