Best Coast & Kendrick Lamar @ uncapped presented by vitaminwater and the FADER, Portland 7/11/12
In the latest installment of The FADER and vitaminwater’s ongoing “uncapped” series, Best Coast and Kendrick Lamar surprised a bunch of people by playing a show at a place called the Lumberyard — a weird indoor bike park/bar that could really only exist in a place like Portland, Oregon. The concept behind the “uncapped” shows is that they typically pair artists from different genres (AKA a rapper and an indie rock act such as Zola Jesus & The Dream, 2 Chainz & Passion Pit) for a show that can come off as either totally inspired or a little awkward. In the case of Best Coast and Kendrick Lamar, it was mostly the former.
There are perhaps weirder things than seeing two bands play in an indoor bike park (something like an indoor skate park, but made for mountain bikes) super early on a Wednesday night, but it’s hard to imagine anything hotter. By the time Best Coast took the stage to play a short, hits-packed set, it was approximately two million degrees inside the venue (according to the guy next to me who wowed his friends by pouring icy cold vitaminwater over his own head). Temperature aside, Bethany Cosentino and co. played a super tight set that showcased both new songs from The Only Place and older tracks like “When I’m With You” and “Boyfriend.” Having seen the band many times over its still relatively short career, it’s truly impressive to see what a formidable live act Best Coast has become. Cosentino’s voice — which can be a little one-note on record — is surprisingly powerful live and months of touring have provided the band’s most wistful songs with a surprising punch. When Cosentino made mention of the fact that she used to be an intern at The FADER, the tepid audience response prompted her to say “You guys clearly don’t give two fucks about that.” A question about whether anyone in Portland actually rides bikes or not, however, drew an enthusiastic response. Go figure.
Despite the heat, Kendrick Lamar managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy in the span of about five minutes. To say that Lamar basically has charisma shooting out of his ass would be a towering understatement –and much of the crowd was clearly there specifically for him. Despite a murky sound mix (to be expected when you are performing bass-heavy music inside a cavernous bicycle track) Lamar managed to expertly work the room. Dipping back through his back catalog — including tracks from his 2009 debut EP and more obvious jams like “Hol’ Up” and “A.D.H.D” from Section.80 — Lamar seemed to be clearly having the most fun in the room. In addition to getting everyone to chant along to “Pussy And Patron” and giving out communal bottles of water for the overheated audience to sip and share, Lamar pulled a random superfan out of the audience to join him onstage, only to find that the kid could enthusiastically match him bar for bar (no small feat). Aside from an excellent outing of “The Recipe,” the show’s other obvious highlight was “No Make-Up,” for which Bethany Cosentino joined Lamar on stage to sing the hook. (Watch it below.) While the pairing could have easily come across as just a goofy one-off, Cosentino’s voice fit shockingly well within the track and it was the only moment of the night that seemed to truly validate the concept of the “uncapped” series. The fact that Cosentino and Lamar come from two seemingly very different worlds made the collaboration interesting, but the fact that the two of them were clearly having such a good time actually made it special.
Check out photos of the event by Dabe Alan in the gallery above.