Article and Image Published w/ Harp Magazine
Rochester, NY USA
November 14, 2007
by April S. Engram
The Bug Jar is a nice, small, personable bar/club venue where I hold many memories of viewing great acts and shaking many hands. The Rochester space makes it possible to have that close interaction with bands, and Montreal’s Francophones, Malajube, also appreciated this luxury.
The quintet has toured endlessly since February of this year (no exaggeration; just check out their website for the proof), and it is amazing that all members have not collapsed from exhaustion. Though singer/guitarist Julien Mineau had an obvious cold, he managed to restrain his coughs while singing. Mineau and mates—Francis Mineau (drums), Thomas Augustin (keyboards, vocals), Renaud Bastien (guitar, keyboards) and Mathieu Cournoyer (bass)—put on a fantastically loud and energized show. Very much seasoned musicians, it’s amazing what this fairly young band can pull out of their bag of tricks. With just two albums on their track record thus far, I am excited to see what album three will hold. Performing tracks from their 2004 release Le Compte Complet and their 2006 album Trompe L’oeil (Trick of the Eye), Malajube kept the crowd dancing from the first song to last.
Though my French comprehension skills are laughable, one doesn’t need to be fluent in the language to enjoy Malajube’s high octane performance and their punk-pop songs. What makes a Malajube song so enjoyable is the roller coaster ride of each track; a single song will face a change in tempo, from light and happy to dark and intense, and it’s fun to watch the guys in action as they transform with the songs. Mineau and Augustin shared friendly banter with the crowd between songs and one audience member tried to show off her French speaking abilities. Mineau joked, “Woah, someone is speaking French in the crowd.” “Kill her!” Augustin shouted.
As the band beckoned for us to move closer, they again played flawlessly. Favorites from Trompe, “Montréal -40°C,” “Pâte Filo,” “Le Crabe,” “Casse-cou” and “Etienne d’août”, all made the cut, but the obvious crowd pleaser was the hard driving and dark “Fille à Plume.” Even the video for this track fits the dark mood of the song and is a must-see. With a few adjustments of his strings, Mineau said to the audience, “Now it’s time to dance,” and began to play the hypnotic chords. The crowd happily did just that—dance. When the night was over Augustin expressed his joy with the Bug Jar, how he loved the personable atmosphere of the club, and even Mineau stated that the audience was the best they have seen for quite some time.
Fingers crossed that Mineau can hold off his cold until the end of their journey as their touring is not quite over. Malajube will be on the road until December and it will not be a wasted evening if you decide to take in the sights and sounds. And maybe you’ll be as determined to brush up on your rusty French as I am.
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