Photo by Pooneh Ghana
It's only been three years since I discovered BODEGA opening for Jon Spencer + The HITmakers at Great Scott in February 2019, but it feels much, much longer. In that time it seems like the Brooklyn based post punks have played in Boston a bunch of times, but it's never worked out for me to see them. Luckily that streak was broken last Friday when they played one of my new favorite places to see a show: Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theater!
I did not think I was going to like Boston Cream when they first started playing. Melanie Bernier came out miming guitar on a broom, and slowly each member entered playing their instrument. The band features two singers (the second one is Peach S. Goodrich) mostly doing minor synchronized dance moves and just seemed a little too gimmicky for my taste. But, the band does feature three members of Hallelujah the Hills (drummer Ryan Connelly, bass player Joe Marrett, and guitarist Nicholas Ward (making this his fourth band, I believe?)), so I had to at least give them a try. The five piece played a dance friendly version of indie punk that slowly became more and more mesmerizing. I'm going to give a lot of credit to Connelly's drumming, as it was oddly hypnotizing. Slowly, even us skeptics in the crowd were sucked in, and by the second to last song (I believe it was called "Chickadee") the crowd was fully dancing and received a huge ovation. It's always a little extra fun when a band can repel you at first and slowly win you over using everything that turned you away originally. If you ever get a chance to see Boston Cream live, make sure you watch their full set even if you don't want to.
Speaking of bands you need to see live, this was the first time I got to see BODEGA as a fan, and they did not disappoint at all. Playing with a stage presence far greater than the size of the venue required, the Brooklynites worked the crowd into a dancing frenzy pretty much right from the start. With BODEGA, any rock star posturing is done in a fun, almost tongue-in-cheek way. Their shows are almost impossibly fun, with virtually every song played being a fan favorite hit. One highlight was the double punch of "Jack in Titanic" into "I Am Not a Cinephile" (both songs from 2018's Endless Scroll) which was great thematically as well as sonically. The band even broke out their Fugazi cover, and more bands should truly do Fugazi covers. This particular tour might be over, but next time BODEGA is playing anywhere near you, make it a priority to check them out.