This is new Bodega song! These are the words that are repeated in my head as soon as I hear the word Bodega since their first single back in 2018! The New York art rockers, whose name derives from a corner shop in NY, were gracing the stage this evening at the Wedgewood Rooms, fresh from releasing their second album Broken Equipment on 12th March.
Tonight’s set was heavily loaded with the new material from Broken Equipment, ten of the twelve album tracks were played. It has been four years since the last Bodega album, Ben & Nikki are also filmmakers and were forced to pause filming during the pandemic which gave them the opportunity to return to the studio. The album took inspiration from a book club in early 2020 where they studied philosophical texts which ideologically aligned the band.
Last time I saw Bodega was in 2018 when they supported Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever in Camden and I must say that their sound & live performance, for me, is like they are a completely different band. Bodega opened with a Bob Dylan cover Slow Train before moving into Domesticated Animal, Jack In Titanic and NYC (Disambiguation) which has the theme of how New York was striped of what it had always known in favour of the the corporate/commercialised city we see it as today ‘New York was founded by corporation’ rings out in the chorus.
Some crowd interaction occurred after Truth is Punishment was played with the band questioning what to play next or going off set, a crowd member requested Shiny New Model from the EP of the same name and the band duly obliged. I love how Bodega fluctuate with who leads on vocals and in some case sharing the duty during the tracks. Tai Lei is an absolute force of nature on the drums, which only consist of 2 toms, a floor tom and ride cymbal with Nikki taking the hi-hat out front. Ben tells the crowd know that we are in the presence of a doctor now that Adam the bassist has achieved his PhD, ‘he is now qualified enough to be in the band’ jokes Ben. It is also lead guitarist Dan’s first time out playing live with the band on this tour.
My personal favourite from the new album Seneca the Stoic was played as the final song of the encore and it was 100% worth the wait to hear this live. Nikki moved from front and centre to jointly play the drums with Tai at the back of the stage and it was mesmerising to see them both thrashing away at the kit!
Special shout out also goes to Regressive Left who were supporting Bodega this evening and for the first time on this particular tour. Comparisons have been made to Devo and even Talking Heads, I can see the later with lead singer, Simon’s, voice. Be sure to give them a listen via Bandcamp or your usual streaming platform.