Locals Only: : solo no mo'

Local singer/songwriter .andrew. fleshes out with his new band, moodbinder

Oct 13, 2004 at 2:06 pm
Natalie Hager


Guess the songwriter — melodic vocal range, hard-driving lyrics, emotionally intense, ambient, a zillion pedals on stage and two small dots on either side of his name — for style. If you guessed Cincinnati's Andrew Geonetta (aka .andrew.), you're right.

Geonetta, once known best as that solo-guitar-playing-acoustic guy, is a one-man-band no more. Now he's billing his full band as "moodbinder." With this growth also comes increasing energy. He presses his praised, innovative skills to the limits to still retain the intimacies of his solo act.

So far Geonetta feels this step from solo artist to full band brings his music full circle, as he has always wanted to merge his solo act into something collective.

"Playing with a band allows me to bring a dynamic to my music that I've always wanted there, but haven't been able to bring because of the limitations of being a solo musician," Geonetta says.

And as any solo singer/songwriter in Cincinnati must know, performing sans band limits gigs at the bigger, better venues. Unless you're a singer/songwriter like Mark Kozelek of Sun Kill Moon or some other "big name," it's not likely you'll be headlining the ballroom at the Southgate House.

Geonetta attributes his longtime lust for a rocked-out sound to influences like Radiohead, Sunny Day Real Estate and Shiner. His shows now have all the ingredients necessary to stir up a tasty fusion of melodies, meticulously constructed to make even the harshest drum line feel like cotton in your ears.

Even if you don't feel like Geonetta with moodbinder reaches right out and grabs that soft spot in your heart (typical of his solo shows), he still manages to leave listeners wondering what hit them. One is not better than the other, just different and more complex. The band's performance is more forceful, active and holds a luminous energy sure to turn your attention away from mindless audience chatter and put your focus to the stage.

Trading the intricate pedal board and loop machine set-up for a band has allowed Geonetta to concentrate more on his music and his stage performance. He has played in many bands in the past and knows that they usually come with problems.

"I didn't want to jump into something without finding the right people first," he says.

Initially, the band idea was a separate side project, proposed by Kevin Nolan and Nick Netherton from Saving Ray (along with Jim Denehy on bass). When the guys from Saving Ray became too busy to pursue the project, Geonetta and Denehy decided to continue looking for a drummer and found Tennis Mounts.

"Tennis and I go way back," Geonetta says. "He showed me a different side of drums in that he approaches them in a very musical way." Most recently acquired is second guitarist, Neal Sharp. "We liked Neal right off the bat, even though he comes from a Jam band," jokes Geonetta.

For those who still can't get the .andrew. solo experience (with crowd silencing songs like "Morning Anthem") out of their mind, don't worry. He says he's not giving up the solo gigs completely.

"I'll still continue to do the solo thing as well," Geonetta says. "I like playing in the band for different reasons than playing acoustically. There's a different energy to be had in both situations."

Andrew has yet to release a full-length album, but is heading into the studio in the next month. In November of 2003, he recorded a show at York St. Café but, after mixing it down, was unhappy with parts of the recording and the excessive crowd noise. The final product will likely be released as bonus material or an EP to generate more buzz about what Geonetta plans to do in the studio. Stay tuned — big things are sure to come from this staple Cincinnati songwriter-turned-band-leader.

MOODBINDER performs Friday at the Courtyard Café on Main Street. To find out more about Geonetta and his band, visit www.andrewmusic.net.