4th July | Fleece
Photos: Andrzej Zajac
Endless Scroll, Bodega‘s excellent first full-length which is released today, is a record made not for the modern world, but as an effect of it. If we reach that foreboding post-digital age where the adults of tomorrow blindly stare at their screens, almost unaware of the old normalcy of face-to-face social interaction, then we can’t say that Bodega didn’t cut through the systemic bullshit. What they also try to do is bring a sense of invigorating emotional feeling to a world where the kids can’t handle the personal tremors of life that lie in wait for them.
The Brooklyn band are sadly only one of few willing to have something to say in earnest and without faux sentiment. They express more in a single song than those who cash in on the current notion that simply having antagonistic energy equates to creating something of actual substance. And as they take to the stage at The Fleece, on the day their country celebrates its independence, to an artificial voice that monotonically repeats the words “Heaven knows I’m miserable now,” you immediately gather Bodega aren’t another of the voiceless.
Opening act, Meggie Brown is stalking the stage with a glare, glaring into the crowd in front of her band, who are all bedecked in dishevelled black suits. They craft a heady mix of guttural, garage rock and incessant punk, with a theatrical sway to their proceedings. Bass lines jolt and repel against the slowly-eviscerating guitars, yet do so with brightness. It’s swift, with an integral looseness, and while the tracks don’t particularly stand out individually at this point, there’s certainly a hint at something sharp and convincing within Brown’s delivery and the subtle melodies hidden within.
Bodega are alive and eager from the minute they introduce themselves. Nikki Belfiglio is commanding and unconstrained at the front of the stage, smashing at a cymbal with rhythmic authority while swinging around the stage with impressively coordinated abandon. As is Madison Velding-VanDam, who swings violently from side to side as he teeters over the stage while pushing the incessant rhythm from his guitar. From the front, Ben Hozie strikes at his guitar as he barks powerfully, embodying the inherent mood of their music while not losing any sense of clarity in pronunciation: an impressive feat.
The set hurtles incessantly through their currently short and concise work, and with much more power musically than on record. ‘Bodega Birth’ is driven and even scratchier as Hozie and Belfiglio passionately intone, “this is documentary,” before the funk-instilled bass line of ‘Name Escape’ humorously mocks the lacking originality of the next hype-fuelled band having their moment and those that indulge them.
Yet where Bodega are most formidable is in their perceptions from personal experience. Even a song like ‘Boxes For The Move’, about relocating and recollecting memories as you do so, rings with this sense of sentiment and human understanding. As they close out with a storming ten minutes of noise, Montana Simone falls back onto the wall behind her, the look of pure exhaustion, yet high gratification from such an incessant and arresting set looking completely worth the exercise. You can’t help but feel the same from watching them either.