Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Go Go's - Best Coast - Kaya Stewart -- Warner Theatre - Aug 5 2016

Kaya Stewart - Hmmm... blonde pigtails, skimpy outfit, energetic moves, an appropriate look for someone whose latest single is 'Sleepover'... I seem to recall that these are the types of acts that I have been managing to avoid all my life. Ergo, comparisons are invalid. But I think you get the picture. Drums, bass and backing vocals, guitar, and plenty of lush backing tracks, especially on the more ballad like numbers. It is fine for what it is. The crowd is getting warmed up.

Best Coast - This is the first time I am seeing this talented duo, augmented by three additional musicians. Clearly the best coast is the west coast as they exude well crafted California pop music, yet with a lot of energy and even some droning rock moments. Singer/Guitarist Bethany Cosantino has also worked on some fascinating musical projects on this coast, so there is plenty of skill and thought underneath this extremely catchy music. There are clearly many Best Coast fans here with the audience excitedly reacting to various songs. Although this is made for a moderate sized club, they have 2-3 guitars going at all times and the intimacy is able to reach into the balcony or the back rows of the floor. Strong set with nothing out of place, aside from the drummer's towel, and I would be happy to see Best Coast again any time.
The Go Go's - While my brother is in punk heaven, otherwise known as the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, England with seven classic LA punk bands to choose from, among just about every working UK punk band; I get to see the original drummer for the Germs. But of course Belinda Carlisle went on along with her mates to form one of the more important bands in rock history. I have to credit the Go Go's success for allowing me in my writing to not even bother with needing to mention that 'this band has a female drummer' or 'two women of the four members', for now the success of the Go Go's as an all female band is fully entrenched into rock history and the present environment. Along with their predecessors such as Fanny and Girlschool, and the Runaways to their peers: the Raincoats, Slits, and Ama-Dots, they have established grrrrl power forever. So it is nice to see a fitting well organized farewell tour.

Tonight it is the four members we all know, lacking only their bassist who was engaging in recent legal battles now settled. They are in good spirits, look good, sound great, and take over the large stage, even if they have teeny amps that could fit in a station wagon (well aside from the standard Ampeg bass amp). The vocals are still so powerful and unique with Carlisle's strong tones taking the lead and 2-3 voices behind her offering up that signature Go-Go's harmony. Gina Schock, of course, has the beat and they bang out their many recognizable songs. They slow it down for a couple, but also liven it up by going back to their punk days from 1978-80 with a couple of cuts that feature just a bit more guitar energy and gutsy lyrics... 'before producers got a hold of them' quips Gina. If you are like me and have somehow missed them over the past 38 years, you have a few more weeks and the good news is that they can still deliver the goods.

Quote of the Night: My brother is in Blackpool as I mentioned and as he was trying to hold position up front for the UK Subs set, a pushy spiky haired punkette repleat with studded leather gear including studded gloves, elbowed her way in asking him... "do you want a face full of spikes?" An appropriate retreat means he lives for two more days of great music. He is having a great time. Here are a couple of photos of the Descendants and Discharge.

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