by George McIntire
Once again fulfilling its role as San Francisco’s premier temple of indie punk rock, Bottom of the Hill played host to a medley of sun-soaked reverberating guitar tunes. Noise Pop could have sacrificed the perfect match of setting and music for a venue with double the capacity in this case, but gladly they didn't.
The first two openers, Phoebe Bridgers and Night School, provided a gradual build-up to the headliners. Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers accompanied by just an acoustic guitar gave a low-key but heartfelt set for the early and burgeoning crowd. Night School gave the audience a much better taste of what was in store later in the night. Like The She’s and Best Coast, Night School pair wistful vocals with daydreamy surf rock, the main difference being their name isn’t as literal to their identity. As is common in their genre, Night School played a short but sweet and punctuated set. It’s likely just a matter of time until they find themselves headlining a Bottom of the Hill Show.
The arrival of The She's jolted the place into fourth gear. The local quartet managed to both sooth the mood of the audience with their siren-like voices and perk them up with their flawless guitar chords. The jamboree of “Mystery (Void)” and the soulful “Running” were the choice cuts of their set. A show of four sets of The She’s instead of four separate acts would’ve been just as riveting judging by how the revelry of the atmosphere. The She’s embody a connection between San Francisco’s hippie heyday and garage rock pedigree—almost like wearing a thrift store leather jacket and flower crown at the same time. Though frequenters of San Francisco’s rock scene are often more history-oriented than not, they certainly have something to look forward to with The She’s.
If the state of California decided to open a department of propaganda, Governor Brown would surely appoint Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino as its head. It doesn’t matter where you’re from in the state, Best Coast’s maximalist approach to the ethos of the Golden State lifestyle never fails to make one shed a tear or two of pride. And guess what the band named their recently announced third LP? California Nights. We were treated to the titular track from the new album due out May 5, which is vintage Best Coast in its lyrics and tension-neutralizing ability. “California Nights” was the linchpin in a set that wasn’t as electric as The She’s but still just as captivating.
All four performances were clearly more than the sum of their part and left me feeling both satisfied and wanting more. When you leave a show with your ears ringing, you sometimes doubt your decision to attend, but last night left me with no such doubts.