The Madafakaz make a big impression
I'd never heard of The Madafakaz before I was invited to see it play in the cozy Bar Populaire on Montreal's St. Laurent last Saturday night, but the quartet kept me thoroughly entertained throughout its headlining set.
The band took the hometown stage (well, it would have if the venue had one, but it set up on the floor because it didn't) with all four members wearing nylon stockings over their heads. But this was no bar heist, though the group managed to steal my heart.
The nylons were soon cast aside as The Madafakaz ripped into a set of largely instrumental rock 'n' roll that was filled with surf, twang, reverb and attitude. With the occasional song that had lyrics, I was reminded somewhat of Jon Spencer's Heavy Trash.
The Madafakaz feature the totally talented two-guitar attack of Philippe "Phang" Hughes and Frederic "R.J." St-Aubin backed by the very capable rhythm section of bassist Emmanuel "Snake" St-Aubin and drummer Frederic "Claw" Martineau. But as well as these guys play, they're all about having fun and making sure that their audience does as well.
After plowing through a number of originals, the group capped the night off with some ace covers of the "Hawaii Five-O Theme," "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'' (during which some of the crowd members lifted the singer on to their shoulders), the "Spider-Man" theme and The Chantays' "Pipeline."
I'd been partaking of a number of microbrews throughout the afternoon and night and wasn't sure how much that had to do with my enjoyment of The Madafakaz. But the band gave me a copy of its 12-song self-titled album and — although it doesn't quite capture the excitement of the live performance — it shows that these four bilingual young men are on the right track.
My favourite songs include the opener "Crazy Beach," the eastern European-influenced "Baboushka," "Hotrod Stewart," "Mermaid Ceviche" and the quirky "Human Behavior." You can listen to some of the songs on the band's MySpace page.If you're into the instrumental numbers from The Sadies, Los Straitjackets or some of the other top rock 'n' roll instrumental groups around these days, add The Madafakaz to your list of bands to see and hear. This outfit is too good to remain relatively unknown.