By Mark Grabowski
Do you want to rock? I’m not talking ‘bout no death-metal-growling nu-metal rapping poser rock here, but the real stuff. This ain’t pop music; in fact, it’s about as catchy as a dentist’s drill. But if there is one thing the boys in Majahkamo (mah-jah-ku-mo) can do, it’s pump up the volume.
What do they sound like? Well, now that my ears have stopped ringing from “The Thing You Didn’t Think You Needed,” a song available for download on their website (www.majahkamo.com), I’ll tell you. Think a combination between whatever Staid song is topping the charts at this moment, a Charlottesville jam band, and early ‘90s alternative rock. In other words, something for almost anyone, at least anyone outside the cloistered music-snob community. Maybe the group isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I can see why they have a good chance of making it big in this town and beyond.
Singer/songwriter Andrew Trabucco’s full-bodied tenor cuts through the sometimes rocky, sometimes Grateful Dead-ish musical mix of the rest of the band. This joining of disjointed musical stylings— a “modern-rock” sounding singer with jam-band-like backing instrumentation— sets Majahkamo apart from pretty much every other group I’ve heard. That’s reason enough to applaud Majahkamo. Smaller acts usually sound like whatever band they are into at the moment, but Majahkamo sounds like chief-songwriter Trabucco has musical-ADD— of the most pleasant variety.
This assessment groups the rest of the band into a lump that could be named Majahkamo minus Trabucco, and that’s not accurate. For it is the percussion of Justin Derrico, the bass of Corey Britz, the keys of Brad Swanson, and unusually, the saxophone of Jacob Covington that make this multi-faceted band what it is. Andrew Trabucco might be the principal songwriter, but it’s the playing of his pals that makes his songs come to life.
Majahkamo released a self-produced album, We Haven’t Heard of You Either, in January 2002, a fact rather amusingly disavowed on their official website: “While this album was done to fulfill their fans' desires, work has begun on what they would like to be considered their true debut album.”
What do you take that to mean? There be Rock brewin’.
Majahkamo performs at Outback Lodge April 25 at 10pm. $6.