“Thanks for comin’ down, and thanks to Best Coast for havin’ us!” chirrups Jennifer Clavin early on in Bleached proceedings. With both she and sister Jessica this evening playing second fiddle to fellow ostensible best coaster Bethany Cosentino – a Californian denizen the sibs count among their eldest amigas – there’s no escaping their subordinate standing. They this evening stand quite literally in the shadow of their overstudy aforesaid, a monumental drape depicting the unmistakably ursine and indeed quintessentially Californian artwork to adorn Cosentino’s sophomore recording, The Only Place, smeared in remarkably American fashion across all eyesight. Nonetheless it’s Bleached who are rather more worthy of fuzzy bear hugs and headlining berths on this sort of evidence…
Booze gals totter atop vertiginous stilettos, trays laden with dollar bills teetering precariously overhead as chintzy chandeliers seemingly eagerly trussed up early for Hallowe’en hang above. For a venue of such estimable notoriety, The Fillmore really ain’t all that much to the untrained eye but to the ear, the sisters Clavin are thrust out from the background and straight up into the fore for a half-hour of truly compelling insistence.
Whether or not their dense, riotous nuggets of grizzly grrr, make for a consummate fit with Cosentino’s wistful buggers remains inconclusive, but what we’re treated to is a tooth-splintering lesson in the outstandingly assured. With a peroxide topknot flailing wildly in the dry ice, Jennifer may look as though she’s newly arisen from her paradisiacal cushioned haven (or rather more likely tour bus cesspit) but she and her sis play as though they’ve been up all night, and they ain’t anywhere near done just yet.
With its erratic wildcard minor chords, Looking For a Fight highlights East Coast influence with the blasé jitter of Blondie impeccably distilled down into no more than two minutes intrusive as a vigorous carjacking and invigorating as a midnight joyride down Nob Hill; Waiting By The Telephone violently swills the grungy stuff of CBGB sweat-a-thon together with Phil Spector’s once decidedly productive discographic histories; while Dead In Your Head instead epitomises the sound of a British South Coast. It’s that same ingenuousness-cum-ingenuity once renowned of The Popguns countered by an archetypal riot grrrl aesthetic that’s been dextrously attuned to auxiliary shoegaze proclivity, and the overarching result is a set comprised of caustic bursts of song that, never tired nor contrived, couldn’t feasibly bore. It’s not only by virtue of their concise running times but so too due to their astoundingly delectable execution, with the hi-NRG thrash of early acquaintance No Friend of Mine and the cyclical and vocally surprisingly tight Outta My Mind each still piercing the jet-lagged fog of last week’s memory in their own idiosyncratic fashion.
If there are to be ephemeral qualms with the evening then for a portrayal to have historically proven so intrinsically ramshackle, it has perhaps been a little too well polished almost to the point at which it at times approaches burlesque. And if said term may befits this somehow louche, blood-red setting where the innate exorbitance of seven bucks a beer leads to an inevitably illicit perfumery, then it doesn’t necessarily suit the band itself.
Though Jennifer remains epicentral; her sister, as well as a figure-hugging rhythm section, proving totally centripetal as a consequence. And it’s her tinny Silvertone timbres which propel giddy proto-punk plunderer Searching Through The Past, before an ecstatic Electric Chair quite literally fills The Fillmore with muzzy vigour as Micayla Grace’s submissive bass lines subserviently follow the sisters’ themselves simplistic, if at times cardiac guitar lines.
A pulsating precursor to later disappointments, a superfluous medley of the Misfits’ Horror Business and the Ramones’ Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World notwithstanding there can be few lingering misgivings encircling perceptions of the Cali pariahs. Maybe it’s something about the summer, but everything appears to fall suspiciously perfectly into place this evening with this distinctly estival fare having been conceived of this, the US’ presupposed best coast. And it suits it down to a sodding tee.