BODEGA with AMERICAN INDIE ROCK and MEMORY BANK at Ted's Wrecking Yard, July 20. Tickets: $5. Attendance: 150. Rating: NNNN
in the world of indie rock, wherecynical navel-gazers are a dime a dozen, it's rare to find a guy as genuine and unaffected as Bodega frontman Andrew Rodriguez.Since Bodega became a casualty of the PolyGram-Universal merger, Rodriguez has been toiling away with Mercury Rev's Dave Fridmann on Bodega's soon-to-drop new record. He's also been working on his live act.
Onstage at Ted's Wrecking Yard, he professed his undying love for the "beautiful" audience ("You all look so lovely tonight!") and thanked his nearest and dearest "for being so nice to me." The slings and arrows of the music industry have left this musician blessedly unjaded.
Backed by a four-piece band -- including upright bassist Steve Barber and drummer Travis Hooiveld of Alvy -- Rodriguez captivated the College Street crowd with an impressive set of melodic pop that ranged from jangly country ballads with shimmering slide guitar to loungey keyboard numbers replete with Tom Jonesish banter over Sweet Caroline chords.
Upbeat acoustic numbers like I'll Be The One married poppy Matthew Sweetness to the boozy garage energy of the Delta 72. Rodriguez matched Bodega's stylistic spectrum with a vast vocal range, shifting effortlessly from ominous rock-star growls to a gorgeous, spine-tingling falsetto.
His intelligent, quirky-poetic lyrics and layers of multi-instrumental harmonies -- along with earnestly goofy between-song patter -- kept the audience spellbound.
Three years is a long hiatus. However, judging from the new material, Bodega's new album will definitely have been worth the wait. One can only hope audiences will start seeing more of this underrated talent.