“It’s great to be in Chicago, but it’s freezing here!” declared Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino to a sold-out crowd at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on Tuesday. The all-ages show was the first of two Chicago dates co-headlined by Southern California indie rockers Wavves and Best Coast as a part of their Summer Is Forever Tour. Over the course of three hours the headliners, along with noise rock opener No Joy, adeptly performed music more suited for sunny beaches than the frozen Chicago city streets.
No Joy started the night’s music with a homogenous set of reverb heavy tunes. While the songs were barely indistinguishable from one another they provided strong energy for the hipster-filled crowd. At best No Joy resembled the earliest Wavves songs, but at worst was still a sufficient opening act.
As Lincoln Hall started to reach capacity — which isn’t much to begin with — the lights went down for Best Coast. As the power trio took the stage, 2Pac’s “California Love” boomed over the loudspeakers, the first of many events throughout the night that added a personable, casual feel to the concert.
Best Coast was on point every moment of their 45-minute set, brusquely rattling off over 15 of Cosentino’s simple but well-crafted love songs. Cosentino herself proved to be entertaining, referencing her slight discomfort due to a pre-show meal of tater tots and bashfully playing off a clumsy moment where she hit her teeth on her microphone. The live atmosphere only benefited Best Coast musically: all their songs were sonically edgier than their studio counterparts and Cosentino’s vocals were pristine. Highlights of their set included “Our Deal,” which Cosentino dedicated to lovers in attendance and “Summer Mood,” a perfect embodiment of the evening’s feelings.
The younger hipsters in the thoroughly Pitchfork-approved crowd who tried to mosh during Best Coast (seriously?) were thrilled when Wavves emerged shortly following Best Coast’s set. Fronted by young sensation Nathan Williams (Cosentino’s boyfriend), Wavves provided a highly energetic and entertaining show that felt more like an early Green Day concert than a modern indie-rock performance. At the start of their excellent opener “Idiot” off 2010’s <em>King of the Beach</em>, the band threw half a dozen inflatable beach balls and aliens into the crowd, inducing a party-like atmosphere that lasted for the rest of their set. Wavves’ set was immensely enjoyable — Williams denied front row girls a kiss because he couldn’t verify their age and questioned security guards who tossed a marijuana-smoking teen. But the set lacked much of <em>King of the Beach’s</em> newfound nuance, probably because the setlist instead relied mostly on tracks from the band’s two previous releases.
Still, as the final notes of closer “Post Acid” filled the venue, it was undeniable that Wavves had provided a satisfying end to an excellent night of music at Lincoln Hall. Earlier in the set Williams had responded to a front-row compliment by saying “No, I’m not God. I’m Jesus, and you are all my disciples.” His rhetoric is certainly ahead of his skill, but Williams has the potential to become a fixture in indie music, as do his contemporaries in Best Coast.