A Saturday in San Francisco: The COIN Concert Review

One of the best things about Davis is the proximity to pretty much anything you want to do in Northern California. Sacramento is the next city over, and it's only an hour and a half (if you're lucky) to The City by the Bay. As someone who grew up twenty-some miles from Davis in the direction of the bay, San Francisco has always been one of my favorite places to go. It's a special kind of place where your pants can flood or you can wear that shirt you had no business buying but still feel like you don't look out of place.

So of course, when Spotify notified me that one of the bands I listen to, COIN, was playing The Fillmore, I didn't even think twice about buying tickets.

Image source: Adrien York

Fast forward a few months, and I find myself going to The City with one of my best friends since the first grade, who also happens to be the person who put me onto COIN. The night was awesome. Of course, hanging out with a friend who's been there since day one and eating great food is always fun, but the concert was a pretty good time, too.

First of all, let's just get it out of the way that The Fillmore is super cute and charming and a place that I totally wish I owned. This charm is partly due to the fact that the venue isn't super big and primarily gets played by "under the radar" artists. That usually means lower, if not reasonably, priced merchandise.

Not to mention opening acts that are almost guaranteed to be brand new to you! COIN's support band, The Aces, is a quartet of ladies with surprisingly groovy songs. I found myself jumping and dancing even though I'd never heard any of the songs before. (Although I will say seeing any all-womxn group doing a thing and doing it well makes me want to jump for joy anyway!)

The band COIN itself is a group of four dudes - Chase Lawrence, Joe Memmel, Ryan Winnen, and Zachary Dyke. They brand themselves on their Instagram as "COIN: The Great American Rock Band," but I feel like that's mostly because these days any music where the group is actually playing the instruments that back the vocals gets branded as rock.

And while rock is a wide and ranging category, I wouldn't consider COIN rock. Their music is upbeat, even when it's a little sad, and utilizes a synthesizer to make what I find to be more pop-like sounds. And if any of that's not worth a damn, their music has a certain cheesiness to it which I've determined exclusively comes from the pop world. However, coming from a music snob like myself with an aversion to pop music, I will say that their songs possess a certain element that elevates them from whatever expectations you may have.

Image source: Adrien York

I was introduced to the group by way of their song "Malibu 1992" off their second LP record, How Will You Know If You Never Try. I stumbled upon this single on one of the CDs my friend burned me for my birthday last year (best gift of all time, for the record, and I know, no one listens to CDs anymore, but there are few things I love more than listening to CDs in the car). "Malibu 1992" may well be in my top ten songs of all time, and while it doesn't reflect the rest of the band's discography, it's certainly a good starting place as one that will grab your attention.

Now, when I listen to new music and end up liking it, I immediately go to Google and start researching the heck out of this new artist. Either I have judgemental instincts or I like learning, but I love reading articles on NME, Ones to Watch, or even just Wikipedia if that's all I can find. I crave substance, anything to provide context or create narrative.

Image source: Adrien York

COIN's narrative is especially appealing. The indie group's four members all met in college at Belmont University in Nashville. This is interesting to me because I'm a person in college. While it's nice to think about degrees and the opportunities they bring, I love the prospect of everything else that can happen in or because of college.

Through years of grinding, these guys eventually got signed by Columbia Records. Now in just their mid-twenties, they've more or less made it. Sure, they're not selling out arenas and overplaying on radio stations across the country, but success is relative and isn't defined by Grammys and luxury vehicles. The guys I saw on stage in San Francisco on Saturday were just having the time of their lives playing the music they worked so hard to create and sharing it with an enthralled audience. 

Cover image source: Pexels