Live: Best Coast, The Thermals, Fitz & the Tantrums

Fitz & Noelle. These guys need to tour, tour, tour

There are three reasons to see Best Coast. Bethany Cosentino’s voice is beautiful, she writes stellar songs, and she’s generally cool. If you want frills and/or showbiz, this ain’t the place. The band is a three-piece, the sound very raw compared to the album, and on-stage harmonies nonexistent. The Troubadour was sold out for two nights. Bethany commented that the crowd was very quiet. They appreciated her but as the LA Times put it, the show was oddly listless. That review also suggested a bass player for the band. I’d agree the sound needs filling out and the energy needs to increase. This band is so talented and while Bethany likes keeping it real, I bet the live show will grow over time.

The Thermals headlined at LA’s El Rey. Friends have been raving about this band’s live shows and I now know why. The energy level was super and the band brought their A-game despite the small crowd in attendance. This is a band that writes some great songs and deserves more of a following. They’ve never been promoted on anything more than a pure indie level, but it seems to me they’d nicely fit mainstream alternative radio. A friend remarked they’d kick ass on the Warped Tour, although that might dampen the band’s indie cred.

Fitz & the Tantrums have been faves of LA tastemakers for a few months now. They play blue-eyed retro soul and their “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” album is strong throughout. With their growing live reputation and local radio play on KCRW and on KROQ’s local music program, the band was able to sell out the El Rey Wednesday night. Capacity is 771.  It was their biggest headlining show to date and they were able to stir the music industry hipsters into a state where it didn’t feel like an LA show at all. Charismatic leader Michael Fitzpartick has a certain punk aura about him. Vocalist Noelle Scaggs is a supurb #2, with voice, looks, and presence that elevate the band to a higher level.  They were backed by 6 players, which interestingly didn’t include a guitar player. They need to tour enough for their live reputation to catch on in other cities.  Here’s their “MoneyGrabber” single and final encore that night, as featured on Carson Daly.


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