Universal Bar & Grill, North Hollywood CA
The Players: Cody DiGerolamo
Material: Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Cody DiGerolamo brings a varied set of rock, folk and synth/electronic tunes with an independent, DIY ethos. Opener, “Built to Spill,” is a raucous “garage rock goes acoustic” piece with flattened, surf-rock vocals. “Together Alone” blends thick, soupy, almost psych-rock with a Neil Young-esque vocal melody. Void of any backing band, songs like “Too Kind” feature DiGerolamo’s vocal against instrumental loops. The loop in “House of Dreams” places particular emphasis on a syncopated, almost hip-hop beat over which DiGerolamo lays a crunchy guitar solo—ending his set in an exciting fit of feedback.
Musicianship: DiGerolamo is refreshingly undecorated in guitar and vocal work. His solos are intentionally picked instead of shredded and his vocal is a rather non-traditional, clean tenor with no vibrato. Gear-wise, DiGerolamo alternates between what looks like a Martin DC16GTE and a Gretsch Electromatic hollow body. Both provide consistency in their depth with full, super-warm low-ends (though the Martin is capable of a fair amount of twang). The guitars feed through a Vox AC15, which excels in its clarity, though DiGerolamo makes frequent use of a Digital Delay and an overdrive pedal. Portions of DiGerolamo’s tunes are backed by a series of instrumental loops emitted from a Boss RC30 station. Lush and full of strings, synths, chimes as well as hip hop/dance influenced beats, the loop tracks attest to the musician’s compositional capabilities.
Performance: Focused and slightly furrow-browed, the silver-suited DiGerolamo let his guard down for the occasional cracked smile and moment of levity. “It’s hump day. You know what that means,” DiGerolamo emitted with a wry smile halfway into the set. He dotted his performance with brief comments about the songs. After the opener, DiGerolamo remarked, “That’s one that I keep changing but I think I like it now.” He later introduced his instrumental track, “Intermission” with, “I finished this today and I said, why not?” The statements imply a duality of a perfectionistic, “work-in-progress” mentality juxtaposed with a devil-may-care, punk rock attitude.
Summary: An original, genre-bending sound paired with a marketable image leave DiGerolamo well poised for management or label representation. Though not all were written as singles, a fair amount of the tunes contain the elusive ear-sticking hooks you’ll hum to yourself later on. Corrections to a few minor issues (treble-high acoustic guitar and vocals obscured by the volume of the loop track) are all that hold him back from an above and beyond performance.
– Ted Jamison