The last two times that Hoboken, New Jersey's Mad haPPy
graced Frederick's Music Lounge, no more than a couple dozen people were there to witness it. However, it's unlikely that any of them has forgotten the oddball vision of the band's two members, Mike Ill and Rivka. Though Rivka dances alluringly and contributes some nice on-point harmonies, Ill's at the center of the Mad haPPy experience. Between songs, the shirtless, chattering Ill sounds like a direct descendant of Fast Times at Ridgemont High
's Jeff Spicoli, all surfer-cool by way of the Jersey shore. The band plays short, snappy pop songs that draw from a wide variety of influences -- modern electronica, chirping new wave, white-boy funk, even an occasional twist of folk -- and somehow creates from these disparate elements a cohesive whole. Augmenting the quirkiness is the band's drum machine, which Ill addresses between songs, just like a human band member. MadhaPPy's debut album, feel good music ... for the broke middle class
(BarNone) is a worthy introduction to the group's charms, but it's live that Mad haPPy will win your heart -- or, at the very least, your feet and your sense of humor.
Opening the show are Rob Getzschman and local hip-hop distortionist Jonathan Toth From Hoth.