Best Coast and Wavves at Turner Hall
- MONDO LUCHA! celebrates fifth anniversary in high-flying style at Turner Hall
- David Sedaris goes off book, shines at Pabst Theater
- Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck offer glimpses of greatness at Riverside Theater
- John Hodgman, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman give Pabst Theater three shows for price of one
- Top 5 musical moments from Kenosha’s 2013 Ride of the Living Dead
Best Coast mastermind Bethany Cosentino and Wavves brat Nathan Williams (a real-life couple) are finally getting a chance to ride out their stoner aesthetic while on tour together. How scintillating, right? In practice, the sunny idea didn’t burn as brightly as we’d thought it would, as the joint tour came through Turner Hall on Thursday. For some folks, the crossover between Best Coast and Wavves ends sharply at romance.
“Fuck you!” A guy in a Cramps T-shirt screamed, as Wavves began a blasphemous cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown.” The concertgoer extended both middle fingers and appeared to make several attempts to get onstage, all of which were botched by the same confused security guard. Williams—who donned a Wisconsin letter-jacket—could often be found killing the band’s summery vibes by shooting ex-Mae Shi drummer Jacob Cooper the stink-eye for his frequent stick dropping. The frontman seemed ready to pull a Patrick Wolf and actually fire Cooper onstage, even asking the audience, “Anyone out here play drums?” While the infectious, ’90s alt-rock allure of better-known Wavves tunes like “Post-Acid” and “No Hope Kids” were tough to deny, there was still plenty of sleepy filler to sift through along the way, and Williams’ annoying behavior and post-Noel Gallagher honk became exponentially more taxing as the set continued.
Best Coast didn’t need to dump a wealth of beach balls and inflatable aliens onto the crowd (like Wavves did) to warm up Turner Hall on a frozen Milwaukee night. Not only did Cosentino and company treat the audience to its own blindingly sunny hooks, but took a successful bite into Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City.” The quirky siren wailed with a curiously zoned look in her eye, “If ya don’t wanna go to fist city / Ya better detour around my town!”
Cosentino’s limited stage banter included telling the audience that a friend told her that Turner Hall was haunted (clearly confusing the venue with the Eagles Ballroom), and declaring her love of Bud Light to a series of playful boos. But she avoided discussing her cat or even Williams—her tour-mate and boyfriend. Accompanied by the anchoring guitar melodies of the jolly-looking Bobb Bruno and the simple rhythms of beatsmith and Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler, Cosentino crooned her way through buzzing pop works like “Boyfriend,” “When I’m With You,” and “Each And Every Day” from 2010’s Crazy For You. The trio even took stepped into 7-inch territory with the bloodshot mix of The Shangri-Las and The Jesus And Mary Chain found in “Sun Was High (So Was I).”
As long as we’re on the topic of girl-groups and ear-scarring shoegaze, we should add that Montreal’s No Joy closed an impressive opening set of shimmering noise-pop with a lushly harsh cover of The Shangri-Las’ “He Cried.” The gritty foursome zoned out, summoning a massive portal of reverberated crooning and buzz-saw guitar noise as it ripped through a series of jams from 2010’s Ghost Blonde.