Life Lessons with Best Coast

Photo by Wesley Ng

Los Angeles-based surf pop band Best Coast rocked the Southland Stage at UCR’s Heat Music Festival last Saturday. As the duo of vocalist Bethany Cosentino, guitarist Bobb Bruno and their band took the stage, they were welcomed with an uproar of shouting and positive vibes. The band opened with “When the Sun Don’t Shine” from their 2010 album “Crazy for You” and followed with the album’s title track. Saturday night’s crowd was clearly crazy for Best Coast.

Before the show Bethany admitted that “playing colleges is cool because college kids definitely get into it and like to be rowdy.” Encouraged by the college atmosphere at the Southland Stage, Bethany took an inspiring pull from bandmate Bobb’s flask and keenly warned the crowd, “Don’t worry, it’s only fruit punch.” Her quick wit and sense of humor further excited the crowd who laughed at her in-between-song-banter and sang in sync with her California-infused lyrics throughout the evening.

Much of the band’s lyrics pay homage to their love of California and their most recent album “The Only Place,” which reached #24 in the U.S. charts, features lyrics demonstrating that fondness for the Golden State such as, “Why would you live anywhere else?” I asked Bethany that exact question and she said, “I just feel like California, more specifically L.A., has everything I need. The ocean, mountains, desert, amazing weather.” In response to the preceding question, Bethany followed up with a question of her own: “Why would I chose to live somewhere where it gets freezing and dark and depressing when I could live somewhere where it’s sunny almost all the time?”

After performing “Summer Mood,” Bethany jokingly introduced the band’s next song “Last Year” as a song about her last year at UCR before mock-realizing, “Ahh, I didn’t go to fucking UCR!” In fact, she sheepishly bragged to the crowd, “I dropped out of school and look where I am now?” She dubbed her entertaining declaration as “Life lessons from Best Coast.”

Speaking of academics, upon asking Bethany what course she would teach if she was a professor, she came up with “History of Cats.” From the dawn of meow…

Bethany’s affection for felines is also seen in the band’s album cover for “Crazy For You,” which features an image of her own cat Snacks. Their newest album presents a black bear that Bethany says they named “Vanderbuilt.”

Although Bethany appeared the confident rock star on stage last Saturday, she claims, “I still haven’t really grasped the concept that we are a real, successful band. When people come up to me and say ‘I love your band’ I’m like, huh? You know who I am?” Whether she believed it or not the crowd knew Best Coast lyric for lyric.

For the second to last song of the night, Best Coast performed their hit “When I’m With You.” In a personal shout out to Riverside, the vocalist changed the song’s lyrics from “When I’m with you I have fun” to “When I’m with Riverside I have fun.” UCR and the rocking Southland Stage crowd most definitely had fun with Best Coast at Heat.

When inquired if he wanted to say anything to the students, the soft-spoken guitarist Bobb Bruno humbly said, “Thank you for having us.”

Starting on Mar. 28, Best Coast will begin a two month tour with the legendary punk rock band Green Day. For Bethany, “Green Day is the music [she] grew up on,” and so for her “it’s an honor to get to tour with them.”

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