Photos By: Morgan Klein
By: Lara McCaffrey
Friday, June 26th was a good day for a couple reasons. First of all, the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal all over the United States. Secondly, Best Coast and Bully played the Observatory North Park. “The weather is always perfect,” Bully front-woman Alicia Bognanno said of our fine city. “Just when you think you’re going to die you get to San Diego.” After driving around for hours in a tour bus, finally arriving in the cool ocean breeze is exactly what a weary musician needs.
As far as what the audience needed, Bognanno’s raw vocals were it. Over Bully’s grungy guitars, her voice ranges from a coo to a full on yell. Her bellows were emotive–bringing up feelings of frustration and despair. It’s refreshing to hear her express these emotions so unabashedly. Bully’s live show achieved what Bognanno intially set out to do when recording their debut 90s grunge influenced album, Feels Like. A sound engineer by training, Bognanno recorded the album to make it sound like the live show. She accomplished her goal as both Bully’s live set and album have that same raw, furious energy.
After Bully, the band everyone came to see made a dramatic stage entrance. The lights faded to blackness as a an acoustic guitar solo began to play. That solo turned into a full on metal guitar lick and lights turned back on to reveal Best Coast.
We loved Best Coast when we first heard their 2010 release, “Crazy For You,” and we still love their 2015 album California Nights. The new album is more produced, has more layers, more melodies from guitarist Bobb Bruno and Bethany Cosentino’s voice is clearer–not hidden beneath reverb. And we still love their live set, although like the album, is different. We got to see Cosentino sing a lot of songs without guitar, allowing her to focus more on belting on tunes like “In My Eyes.” Bruno showcased his skills as a guitarist with more solos. The live band had more members, allowing for more layers and parts.
California Nights is amazing, but a highlight had to have been our old favorite song, “Boyfriend,” played during the encore. Cosentino touched upon the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage while dedicating the song to everyone whether they be gay or straight. It was a beautiful sight to see everyone at the Observatory North Park dancing to “Boyfriend.” Not only was it a reminder of why we fell in love with Best Coast’s music, it was a celebration of the important social progress made that day.