The Madafakaz
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The Madafakaz

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"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. - msn canada music entertainment (by Steve McLean )


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I stood outside Le Divan Orange late last Thursday trying to describe what I’d just seen in a concise manner. Despite my efforts, my first experience seeing the Madafakaz on stage could only be described by a choppy string of profanities that meant to say how impressed I was. In other words, the Madafakaz surf-thrash show @ Le Divan Orange January 28 was solid proof of how true badasses live up to their names.

When I saw three band members come on stage wearing brightly colored pantyhose on their heads, two of which were also wearing volleyball knee pads, I knew there was going to be one hell of a show. The roomful of fans and unsuspecting Madafakaz strangers were quickly won over by their intense energy, musical skill,and unpredictable entertainment.
The band set the ambiance for the night with Crazy Beach. This surf-styled song got the reluctant audience on their feet doing the twist and bush-whacking like you’d see in the musical interlude of a ’60s beach-party movie. The band had just enough of a don’t give a fak disposition to warrant naming “attitude” an official band member on their myspace.

Lead singer Fred “RJ” St-Aubin’s antics were all a part of a captivating performance. During their song, German Girlfriend, an alt-punk tune that showed off the group’s quirky sense of humor, RJ catered to the mix of beach bunnies and metal thrashers wearing a furry German military hat and singing in German-sounding phonetics. Meanwhile, Phil “Phang” Hughes made great use of his knee pads by spending most of the song rocking out with complete abandon on the stage floor. If these guys were fakkin’ your mada, you’d be pretty damn proud of it.

The Madafakaz played for the people, with the people, and sometimes on top of the people among several other places in their healthy two-hour set. They were on the floor, in the crowd, and on top of the bar. RJ would join in on the collection of thrashers in front of the stage, such as during, Yo’re Mama, as the circle of audience members observed the chaos, cheered, and yelled the lyrics.

The Madafakaz didn’t just win me over with their showmanship; they were also stacked with musical talent. Phang, RJ’s right-hand man, channeled what can only be described as a balance between the western-styled fatality of a cowboy duel, the badassness of a rockabilly motorcycle showdown, and looseness of a beach babe’s bikini strings on a hot afternoon. That’s the recipe for something really fakkin’ infectious.
The majority of their mostly instrumental two hour set was made up of Madafakaz’ originals, but one of my favorite moments of the night was the Trashmen’s 1963 hit Surfin’ Bird cover. This is when RJ sifted through the crowd and proceeded to exit the venue, yelling how “well-a-bird-bird-bird, bird-is-the-word” through a loudspeaker to unsuspecting passersby. All of this, only to be carried back to the stage by a collection of fans to finish off the show like the Madafakaz that they are.

Everything considered, the Madafakaz managed to showcase their talent while maintaining on-stage and off-stage entertainment. If last Thursday is what an audience should expect with every Madafakaz show, these guys aren’t just gonna be a quickie on the Montreal music scene. Cheers to a whole lot of Madafakkin’. - Forget the box (by Andrea Wong)


"Line-in-the-sand"

’m sitting with local surf band Madafakaz in a popular St-Laurent watering hole on one of the coldest nights of the year. Visions usually associated with surf music, like basking in the Cal­ifornia sun while waves crash on the beach, aren’t exactly coming to mind. That suits these fab four lads just fine, as the Madafakaz is hardly your garden-variety surf band. Their deep twang of Fender Stratocasters and Jaguars lead the charge and coast on a bed of deep reverb as a propulsive rhythm section keeps things chugging along, but it quickly becomes evident that these are hardly guys copping the same old Dick Dale riffs.

“R.J. [aka Fred St. Aubin, guitar and vocals] and I had been playing a lot of electronic music for about 10 years,” says guitarist Phang (aka Phil Hughes). “We were two guitar players playing anything but guitar music, so for us to finally play guitars again was a long time coming. We wanted to start playing music that had guitars and strong character, so we started playing punk rock, but we quickly got bored with that. We knew we wanted to play something that had a lot of character and coming from so many different musical backgrounds, we knew we wanted a focus point. Then we heard the song ‘Moondawg’ by Davie Allen and the Arrows and it just all came together. It just had the melody, piercing guitar sound and the strong character traits that we had been looking for.”

Garage rock and, by proxy, surf music have often suffered from infestations of staunch purists. The Madafakaz fly directly in the face of surf Nazis satiated on visions of blond-haired, blue-eyed boys in matching suits strumming out reheated versions of the Ventures’ “Pipeline” and Dick Dale’s “Miserlou.”

“We tend to appeal to people that don’t really know surf music,” says R.J. “We just played a show and this guy came up to us and was really angry that we hadn’t played any of the surf clas­sics. He was demanding we go back up on stage and play ‘Walk Don’t Run,’ and to be honest, we had never even heard it. We just downloaded it on our phone, listened to it and were able to pull it off for the encore.”

It’s indeed in a live setting that the Madafakaz will draw a definite line in the sand between the surf music of the past and their evolution of the form. Songs add nonsensical vocals (that’s right, vocals!) that claim no linguistic origin while the band have recently begun wearing kneepads to alleviate miseries incurred by jumping off stages onto the dancefloor. “When we started the band, the one thing that was mandatory for us was that people could dance and join in when we play,” says R.J. “Most bands like to think that the show ends at the front of the stage, like there’s a bar­ricade there, but we want to bring the energy past the stage.”

“We’re the magicians,” Phang adds, “but you can’t get impressed with your own tricks and bring it to the people. It’s really all about getting a dancefloor going and being the band we’ve always want­ed to see.” - The montreal mirror by JOHNSON CUMMINS


Discography

The Madafakaz (Self-titled)

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Bio

The Madafakaz is a Surf Thrash band based in Montreal, Quebec. It consists of founding members Phang House (a.k.a. Phil Hughes) : guitar & backing vox and RJ Simpson (a.k.a. Fred St-Aubin) guitar & Vox, along with Sharx Alot (a.k.a. Zach Scholes) : bass & backing vox and Bones Bonus (a.k.a. Corey Tardiff) : Drums. The band also plays, keyboards, drum machine, samplers, and homemade electronics. They occasionally have guests join in on trumpet, baritone sax, and trombone. They are especially known for their explosive high energy performances. They have been voted as part of the « favorite concerts of 2010 » by msn entertainment. They released their self-titled debut album, “The Madafakaz” with BoneWof Productions, in late 2010 and have been actively performing in bars and festivals in Montreal, New York & Ottawa since 2008.