In The Pipeline: Union Hosts Surf-Rock Extravaganza This Weekend

Posted on:

< < Back to

Are you a surf-rock junkie in need of a reverb fix? Take heart: The Union has the cure for what ails you.

This Saturday, local favorites The D-Rays will share the stage with The Madeira, a critically acclaimed group making its Athens debut.

"[The Madeira] have been around for years, and they’re world-renowned," said Erick Coleman, guitarist for The D-Rays. "I knew all those guys from different bands over the years. We connected with them in January and we’re really looking forward to this show."

In addition to well-received performances at home and abroad, The Madeira's recent full-length, Tribal Fires, topped several surf-guitar "Best of 2012" lists. However, lead guitarist Ivan Pongracic is keeping things in perspective.

"The scene is not very big, so being recognized like this doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re rock stars," he said.

The worldwide surf music community is incredibly tight-knit, according to Pongracic, who credits artists like Dick Dale for kicking off an international phenomenon in the early 1960s.

Although the genre may have originated more than 50 years ago, that doesn’t mean that this weekend's show will be "retro."

"Our music is fast and loud. Even though a lot of people approach this style of music as 'oldies' music,' what we play doesn’t sound anything like that," said Pongracic, who went on to explain how the current front-runners in the surf music community are doing their best to create a new chapter in the history of surf rock.

"What we’re playing are not just covers of the classics. This is a genre that is growing and there are bands all over the world that are all playing surf music. Surf bands are playing in some major music festivals, especially in South America."

In 2009, The Madeira took their brand of surf-rock to Italy for a 10-day tour. Since then, the Indiana-based group has performed at large festivals throughout the U.S.

Although this weekend's show will be in a more intimate space, Pongracic noted that the size of the audience doesn’t impact the sort of performance the band gives.

"The size of the venue doesn’t matter so much as the enthusiasm of the crowd," he said. "We’ve played huge shows that weren’t as fun as shows with 50 people who were all really enthusiastic about our music."

Both The Madeira and The D-Rays have been keeping busy in recent months. The D-Rays recently saw the first worldwide distribution of their self-titled debut, which is now being handled by Traffic Entertainment. Although the album was just released in June, Coleman noted that they are already working on a follow-up.

The Madeira are currently working on material for another album and preparing for their 10-year anniversary in 2014.

The two groups will be joined by Athens "dark surfadelic" band Night Stalker on Saturday, Oct 5. at The Union. Doors open at 9 p.m. with show time around 10 p.m. Visit the event's Facebook page for information and updates.