Madonna student performs at Kresge Hall

By Chris Austin


Only a few cars take up the spots in the parking lot. It’s Friday night and most students left long ago after classes broke to begin their weekends away from campus, as most do at a commuter school like Madonna. Despite the fact that the chilly wisps of autumn air have already begun to swim through the trees that are beginning to change color, a small group sits huddled together outside of the doors leading inside to Kresge Hall in jeans and t-shirts. Just a few feet away, a pickup truck with a long black trailer hugs the curb. Shimmering in the radiance of the nearby streetlights, the words “The MaB” are clearly written along the side of the trailer.

Matt Austin probably isn’t your typical Madonna student. In addition to being a nursing major at MU, Austin might also be considered the ringleader of an, “organized gang of musicians intending to turn order into chaos by arousing the masses from a state of under-stimulation to levels of group ecstasy.” Thus is The MaB defined.

On Sep. 25, The MaB (pronounced ‘the mob’) brought their unique modern rock sound to Kresge Hall to open for ZIV, an alternative rock band currently in the midst of a three month fall tour. Although the crowd was sparse, The MaB could have easily been performing to a standing room only crowd at The Magic Bag, The Fillmore or even The Palace of Auburn Hills. They played hard and fast with pulsing energy, showing why they have been catapulted into the spotlight in the Detroit music scene.

“This is a dream, and a dream I’ve had for a long time,” said Austin. “To be on that stage is very fulfilling to me, I feel at home. Music is what I do and it makes me happy.”

The band recently changed their name from the Matt Austin Band to The MaB. In addition to Austin on vocals and guitar, Rob Morand plays bass guitar with ecstatic energy and enthusiasm. Ian Lounds plays rhythm guitar and backing vocals and has been a great addition to the group, said Austin. Chris Castro, the most recent addition to the band, plays drums and backing vocals.

“(Castro) plays drums like no other drummer I have ever known,” said Austin. “Aside from their talents as musicians, these guys have become like brothers to me. We are family.”

The show at Kresge was a late addition to The MaB’s touring schedule. In fact, it was almost as if Austin was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time and jumped at the opportunity to play.

“We had a show on Sept. 19th in Mt. Clemens put on by 89X and I wanted to post flyers in the school for the show,” said Austin. “When I went to ask Edna (Rankine) for permission, she asked me what my band was doing the following Friday. She said that they need an opening band, and I said that we would be glad to do it.”

While the show may not have been an overwhelming success according to ticket sales, Austin felt that those who did attend had fun and enjoyed the music they got to hear. He added that he would love to play MU again.

“It was great. Some of the people there were friends, and some were people I’ve never met before, and everyone seemed to have a great time and loved our show,” said Austin. “We had a great response, and I would love to do it again. I think it will only grow, and shows will be bigger and better each time we play an event at MU.”

Perhaps one of the more memorable moments of the night came when the rest of the band left the stage and Austin sat down with an acoustic guitar to play a duet with the lead singer of ZIV on a song called “United,” which will be on The MaB’s upcoming album.

“During my sound check, ZIV heard the song and liked it. He asked me if he could sit in on the song. We played it once together, and I thought it was really cool. Acoustic guitar, piano and vocals go great together,” said Austin.

As both a student and a musician, Austin can’t help but to draw parallels between what he does in the classroom and what he does on stage.

“Well, my goals as a student are to make a successful career in the medical field and have a chance to help people in need,” Austin said. “As for my goals as a musician, they are very similar.  I would like to be a successful professional musician. In return, I hope to inspire young musicians and help people believe in their dreams.” 

Personally, Austin wants to continue with school and make the most of his education.

“My expected graduation date is Dec. of 2011. I plan to go on to a graduate school in the medical field - I’m just not sure in what exactly.”

In the meantime, Austin is happy with the success of the band and the direction they are headed in.

“We are really busy right now. We are finishing the recording of our upcoming album, and hope to release our debut full length album really soon,” said Austin. “As soon as the album is done and we release it, our management team has several marketing and touring options to promote the album heavily to make The MaB a continuing success.”

For more information about The MaB, check out www.themab.us. Be sure to also check out The Madonna Herald on Facebook at www.facebook.com/madonna.herald for pictures from the show at Kresge Hall with The MaB and ZIV.