Rego, named after lead singer/songwriter Rebecca, played an enjoyable set at the Beat Kitchen this past Thursday evening. I did not catch the opening act, so I cannot comment on their play, but the Andrew Bird/Wilco influenced headliner did not disappoint. They were at their best when pushing the groove and rock envelope rather than reducing their sound to a country tinged singer/songwriter backing band. They have an interesting sound, large, but not massive – arrangements typically consisted of bass, drums, acoustic guitar, and lead electric guitar – with accompaniment by a multitude of other instruments, but for the most part, a piano. The music is enjoyable to listen to, and the songwriting is what truly pulls the listener in, and luckily the Beat Kitchen has decent sound – I could actually hear the vocals fairly clearly through a rather tame audience. Although there were some hiccups, notably inside jokes that were lost on the audience and an ill advised old-western sounding (I couldn’t really hear the words, but could see where it was going) story told at the beginning and at the end of one of their last songs (“What a Shame”?). Most interesting to watch was the multi-instrumentalist Mike Przygodo go from accordion, to bowed xylophone – which gave us a sound rarely heard, to guitar (he can truly shred), to keyboards, and then, to top it all off, to mandolin and banjo. The pace of the set went well, but, like I said before, the crowd was much more responsive to those songs that were rough edged and rocky – the rhythm section was right on, with the bass sometimes becoming more active than you usually see in bands similar to Rego and the drummer, Stephanie, pushed and pulled the melody purposefully. The most attractive thing about the band is Rebecca’s voice, which can run the gamut from cute and child like to a banshee’s shriek. She’s a singer’s singer and effortlessly swallows her vowel sounds to emphasize or downplay words of her choosing. This is a band that is slowly pulling itself up and over the rest of the alt-country cloud one finger at a time. They’re first full length album should be coming out this summer, I’ll keep ya’ll posted.