Photography by Breanna Keohane
Philadelphia was just coming off the coldest weekend of Winter 2016 when Best Coast and WAVVES rolled into the Electric Factory last week as part of their Summer Is Forever ii Tour. Punk rock’s best power couple, Bethany Cosentino and Nathan Williams, took their respective bands on the road together for the first time since the original Summer Is Forever tour five years ago. You would have never guessed we were still in February judging from the crowd, who were clad in their finest summer festival attire: backless tank tops, denim (lots of denim), cutoffs, even backpacks. One eager fan showed up in a Garfield costume–perhaps as an homage to Bethany’s cat and Best Coast mascot, Snacks.
Kicking off the show was LA-based garage rockers, Cherry Glazerr, who ripped through a set made up of their two 2014 releases Had Ten Dollaz EP and Haxel Princess. Cherry Glazerr’s lead singer and guitarist Clementine Creevy possessed a unique and engaging stage presence. Their music featured a clever blend of psychedelic 60’s pop elements with SoCal punk, effectively warming up the crowd and setting off a few well-earned crowd surfers. Cherry Glazerr was an excellent opener for this tour and left me wanting more from the promising young act.
Nathan Williams and WAVVES followed up Cherry Glazerr with their own rollicking set filled with highlights that span their five-album catalog. They tore through my own personal favorites like “Post Acid,” “Way Too Much,” and “King of The Beach,” inciting mass crowd surfing and swirling mosh pits. Fans would be lifted and guided toward the stage, (sometimes) gracefully dismount into the press pit, then circle back around the crowd to dive back into the scrum of punks moshing in the center. “I had a really good cheesesteak earlier so this is a thank you, I guess.” Williams announced as stagehands tossed out inflatable aliens and balloons to his awaiting fans. Within milliseconds of WAVVES’ final guitar strum, Whitney Houston came over the Electric Factory’s sound system to play Nathan Williams and company out as they exited backstage.
Fans were able to catch a break from the extensive WAVVES-induced moshing long enough to prepare for Best Coast’s Bethany and Bobb Bruno to take over. The band wasted no time, powering into “Heaven Sent” off their latest album, California Nights. As Cosentino was singing, one unfortunate crowd surfer was dropped just before they reached the barrier. Their fall was so hilariously bad, even Cosention quickly asked “Is that guy okay?!” as she continued through the song. He was fine and made the lap back from press pit back to mosh pit with no diminished enthusiasm. After hitting up the previously mentioned Garfield clad fan for the mask, Cosentino took to dancing and even wearing it as they ran through “Boyfriend.” Her presence onstage was dominant, though was visibly put off by the occasionally less than enthusiastic crowd of Philadelphians during the few times she attempted to engage with them. Regardless, by the time they wrapped with an encore performance of “Bratty B” I felt that Best Coast is on their way to becoming one of the more significant female-fronted acts of the last few years.
Missed the show? See all the photos from that night below!