Bodega – 17 March 2022, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham
It felt so good to be back at one of our favourite music venues, the Hare and Hounds. A great pub and live music venue with an excellent sound system. We also like the fact that bands have to walk through the crowd to get the stage, something we expect a band as good as the wonderful Bodega won’t be able to do for much longer.
They got things off to a noisy start with “C.I.R.P.” A perfect song to demonstrate the effectiveness of their male/female call out vocal style. Together with “Domestic Animal” they’re songs which demonstrated the complexity of their angular post punk sound. Clearly extremely talented musicians, they have really nailed their live sound. It’s a balance of noise and melody.
They rip through “Shiny New Model”, a short sharp pop tune and “NYC Corporation” is already an anthemic classic which really gets the crowd going. There’s a slight break in the set as they have to deal with a cymbal issue – neatly covered by the reference to their new album being called “Broken Equipment”!
The show soon continues with the debauched sounding “Territorial Call Of The Female” and “Doers”, the latter of which sounded even more powerful live than on the album (to us it sounds like the Beastie Boys brought up on disco!). “Statue of The Console” should be a worldwide hit as they perfectly balance passion and precision, whilst “Pillar On The Bridge” is delivered like a pure power pop song. The set list allows them to really show the huge range of influences in their songs, we get the balladic “Memorize With Your Heart” followed by the swirling Velvet Underground esque “Boxes For The Move”.
There’s not much pause for thought or band/crowd banter as they motor through “Name Escape” which starts off like an electro punk version of the B52s before descending into the more manic and dark style of Wire. They keep the crowd with them throughout the set and in particular the like of the pure punk rock of “How Did This Happen” which really gets the crowd going. Sadly the set is over all too quick as they finish with the glorious tune of “Truth Is Not Punishment”.
However, another great thing about the venue layout is that most bands don’t bother walking back through the crowd before the encore so it avoids the usual post main set pantomime. So, with no risk to the energy levels being lost, they are straight into the brilliant “All Past Lovers”, a song which is catchier than the band’s cool New York vibe should really allow. The obvious crowd sing along trump card is “Jack From Titanic” and it doesn’t disappoint tonight. That song in many ways sums up the band and this live performance, a clever song that is equal parts cool but also just a great tune. It was a privilege to see a band of this quality back out touring in the UK and hopefully it marks a return to seeing plenty of great acts as the year progresses.