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The BoDeans hold up decades later

City Winery, Boston, May 22, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The BoDeans – the pride of Waukesha, Wisc. – may be a good four decades old and may not have had even charted on the singles chart for close to 30 years, but their persevere as a roots rock/rock/sometimes pop band with touches of reggae in the mix.

The BoDeans still release new music – they released "4 The Last Time" two years ago – but it's the extensive catalogue of songs that still hold up years later that drew the fans. (to wit, the only song played from "4 The Last Time" was the fun, but not very deep "You Gotta Go Crazy").

And about 200 of them would not have been disappointed by The BoDeans. The link to the past glory days is Kurt Neumann, who plays lead guitar and handles all lead vocals. He helped found the group with Sammy Llanas.

While the pony-tailed Neumann may not have the soulful vocals of Llanas, he acquitted himself just fine, starting with their hit "Runaway" through the closing song of the night, the big hit "Closer to Free." (Neumann and Llanas had a huge falling out in 2018 over sexual abuse charges against Llanas. The feud continues until this today)

Neumann knew the past ruled as he tended to introduce songs based on when they were released. One of the best was the bluesy feel of "Good Work" with its '50s feel.

Stefano Intelisano, who has been in the band since 2013, provided a lot of color to the 90-minute show on both keyboards and accordion (he was a force on "Texas Ride Song"). Drummer Brian Ferguson and bassist James Hertless held down the rhythm section with Hertless often contributing backing vocals.

This was not the most dynamic show going. Everything's nicely done, sounds good and the songs have held up years later, but there was a sense (perhaps wrongly) the show doesn't vary a lot.

Band such as The BoDeans are in a tough spot in one way – presumably they put out new material because they have something to say and want people to hear it. The difficulty is that the audience is a graying one, for the most part, meaning that they want to hear the songs of yesteryear.

Fortunately, in the case of The BoDeans there was a lot of material that was worth hearing decades later.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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