Sheffield and California, sitting under a tree

Mazes Spectrals and Best Coast @ Queens Social Club, Sheffield

It was a very sunny Thursday, a strange occurrence in Sheffield’s “blink and you miss” spring, one that has felt more like a bad mood swing.

So, in order to cure those weather-got-me-down-blues, what best than 3 very uplifting bands to rock out in that place where time stopped, Queens Social Club?

Bingo notices notwithstanding, everything on stage was new, even if the sound of every band playing that night was somewhat a throwback to a different era, they were all sounding very fresh (if slightly saturated).

Mazes have a very garage approach to their music. Sloppy but not careless, perhaps carefree is the right word. Always intense, always moving around and certainly having a lot of fun with their music. ‘Most days’ is such a catchy song, with the fuzz overbearing everything else on stage, even drowning it. The audience seemed to be enjoying it (I saw Ali Koehler from Best Coast in the front bobbing her head) and the people arriving did start to pile up in the front (maybe they wanted a chocolate easter egg?). They played ‘Bowie Knives’, which is a more relaxed song that still rocks and their too cool for school attitude was the cherry on top. We had a chance to talk to Mazes before their set, so stay tuned for that interview.

Spectrals cranked the reverb to the max for their set’s sound. If Mazes had the sound of the 90s garage band having a ball, Spectrals had a sort of late 50s sound, with that reverberated guitar (in a plastic toy hue of blue – very nice one) doing some playful notes, with the bass and drumming sections being catchy as well. Like a slow dance, sort of a prom night, their music was simply catchy. In a way, if they were the band playing for the prom, then the prom queen and her gang couldn’t be any farther.

Speaking of, sitting by the side of the stage during their set was Best Coast. Some onstage happenings were going on before Best Coast‘s time came. One of the fellas from Spectrals carried Bethany Cosentino upside down, with her legs dangling like one of those inflatables used by car salesmen. It was a strange moment but it would probably come into the fray later.

Best Coast‘s set was an interesting one: they played the ones that everyone expected (‘Boyfriend’, ‘Crazy for you’), a couple of covers and quite a few new ones. Even if the lyrics weren’t that well known, the band still had enough stage presence to make them work. True, sometimes it seems like the whole thing is just a fuzzed up show with great drums, but it’s also fun and the quotable banter from their lead singer  (and her attitude) more than made up for any hiccups.

A few highlights of her musings where some random jokes about Spectrals sabotaging the volume on her amp, asking Bobb Bruno to “entertain or say a joke” after she went for some cider and saying that she puked because she was pregnant. That last one might or not be a joke, probably the former as the guy who carried her upside down shaked her a bit.

Anyways, it has to be mentioned that Bobb Bruno’s guitar arrangement is delectable (liked the fact of the bass sound coming out from a wonderful POG) and Ali Koehler’s drumming is always a good beat. They finished their set with some droning stuff, but more on their style, which was a tad strange but still enjoyable.

So, Summer arrived early (and left even earlier by the look of the grey skies right now over Sheffield) thanks to Mazes, Spectrals and Best Coast. Summery, breezy show with a lot of positive vibes, jokes and fuzz.

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The author would like to thank Fat Cat Records and Drowned in Sound.


Mazes Website. Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Spotify.

Spectrals  Website. Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Spotify.

Best Coast Blog. Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Spotify.

Random musing: If Peppermint Patty were a real person, she would get Violet and Schroeder (nicknamed Shredder after taking theguitar) and would be that alternate universe’s Best Coast.

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