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Live Review: Best Coast, Totally Mild

29 July 2015 | 5:29 pm | Mick Radojkovic

"We're taken along on the ride, but with not a lot to look at, we rely on the vocals swimming in our heads."

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If art-pop is a genre, then Totally Mild have nailed it. A quirky guitar, wonky beats and a pristine vocal combine to give this Melbourne band a unique flavour that captures your attention. Lead singer Elizabeth Mitchell's voice is sugary sweet and there's a rich production to the music that feels better suited to good headphones than a live stage, but it's nice to see how it's made live. If you get an opportunity to see this band in a small relaxed venue, take it.

With the glut of Splendour sideshows happening in Sydney tonight, you'd be excused for struggling to sell out a Tuesday night gig, but the sold-out sign is up at Oxford Art with eager punters keen to hear Best Coast before they head back to warmer climes.

We're surrounded by West Coast warmth immediately as one of their best, The Only Place, launches us into over an hour of constant music. There are no less than 19 songs played with tracks coming from all of their three albums plus the Fade Away EP. Bethany Cosentino performs with little chat or banter but manages to charm the crowd with her sensual vocal and casual hair-flicking. Bobb Bruno is a demon on the guitar. He attacks his machine with abandon, giving Cosentino a wall of sound to work with as she switches between guitar and tambourine.

Almost the entire track list of their new album, California Nights, is performed and it's an album full of heartbreak, yearning and moodiness. We're taken along on the ride, but with not a lot to look at, we rely on the vocals swimming in our heads as we stare blankly or close our eyes to sway.

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As the band complete their encore track, Boyfriend, Bruno remains to give us a five-minute blast of distortion from his guitar before hanging his instrument above him on the light rig and walking off, as we did, a combination of joy and sadness in our demeanour.