Benny the Jet Rodriguez sings poppy beach tunes for people who hate the beach and makes baseball movie references for kids who aren’t team players. The self-described “pot-punk” outfit, formed in 2012 in San Pedro, became a trio when the apparently tireless Todd Congelliere joined on keys. (You may remember Congelliere as the head honcho at Recess Records and singer in FYP, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland and I forget how many other bands.) But Congelliere isn’t the star attraction here—Benny the Jet’s charm is largely because of the bouncy sense of humor, sugar-sweet vocals and stage presence of singer L. Freeman, who calls herself a “studdly queer babe.”
Not every lo-fi band that claims to be poppy actually is, but catchy hooks abound on Benny the Jet’s August 2013 album Home. Run. “Summer Hatin’ (happened so fast)” is the single, and I highly suggest watching the cute music video for it where a little girl in a Pikachu outfit plays a rock show for her stuffed animals. But “Aloha, Mr. Hand” is a standout track on Home. Run, both for being the longest at a whopping 2:48 minutes and having the most cohesive, driving arrangement of keyboards, crashy drums and sweetly sad lyrics. “My girl left me/ I don’t know what they’re asking me,” L. Freeman sings. I can’t make out half of the rest of the lyrics, but I’m happy to make up my own and sing along anyway.
Benny the Jet Rodriguez plays the VFW Wed., May 28, along with J. Sherri and The Hounds. 10 PM. $5/$7 for ages 18-20.