How do you stay motivated or improve if you're already Best Coast? What's better than best? That was the question lingering in my mind as I braced myself for the oppressive heat and humidity that is requisite with any sold-out show inside Alhambra Theatre (which announced yesterday that it is closing its doors at the end of this month). Much like the Strokes or the Wu-Tang Clan, Bethany Consentino and Bobb Bruno's band arrived with a definitive sound that allowed no further evolution. As the fidelity of their recordings got higher, the sounds got lower, dimmer, and less charming. I refer to this as the Law of Diminishing Guitar Pedals, whereby the more effect boxes you use, the worse the music sounds. When a band replaces their battered and duct-taped Peavey backline with a gleaming set of Mesa-Boogies, I worry that they're putting less care into their chords, melodies, and lyrics. Did they spend more time dialing in the bass line for the chorus, or choosing the exotic wood for their bass cabinets?

Best Coast didn't seem too worried about all of this when they arrived on stage, now as a five-piece band. After all, even with just their first few EPs they've already given us a wealth of indelible guitar-pop perfection. Super tight, with minimal banter, there was an air of admirable professionalism to the proceedings that contrasted with the shambolic show I saw at Holocene five years ago. Best Coast may never top their early work, but it's nice being reminded of how great their early work really is.

  • Minh Tran

Bully opened things with a punishing set of tightly-wound, hard-hitting rock, imbued with country twang and punk economy. Lead vocalist and guitar player Alicia Bognanno has a voice which cuts through a mix, and Bully has plenty of catchy melodies that make the prominence of her voice justified.

Lots more photos after the jump!

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