with Map of the World and then with Kiss Me Screaming. He formed the Maypops in the late 1990s and recorded the band's first CD, Spirits of Agnew, in 2000, and then, for various personal reasons, took a five-year intermission from music. Now he's back with a new incarnation of the Maypops. Before a packed house at the Firefly Club recently, Hanifi and the band rocked through two sets showcasing material from Spirits of Agnew ("Yes, that Agnew!" as Hanifi said during the show) as well as older and more recent songs.
The years away from the stage have not slowed Hanifi. Both as performer and songwriter, he's still firing on all cylinders. The Maypops offers no pop posturings, bizarre costumes, or pyrotechnics. Instead, the fireworks are in the well-crafted, intelligent lyrics; the often surprising yet never capricious harmonies; and Khalid's straight-ahead, John Lennonesque, what-you-hear-is-what-you-get singing. The Maypops back all that with vigorous grooves by longtime bassist Oni Werth and muscular drumming by Jim Carey. Guitarist George Bedard no stranger to the limelight himself, having fronted the Kingpins and other bands for years excels in a supporting role.