Goodfellas. A word already loaded with huge cultural significance as the name of Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed gangster film. While Henry Hill famously admits, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster,” you can begin to understand why the name “Goodfellas” seem to be so perfect for the six-some from Timbre. It’s definitely not that any of them want to be gangsters but rather that they’ve known music to be their calling since as far back as they can remember and as Nal says “We decided upon it because it back then we felt that the name will truly represent us. We are good people, tight like a family of brothers and we want to make you feel good.”
Goodfellas have been around since 2006 and the vibrant chemistry that seems to take on a life of its own as they perform on stage suggests that they’ve known and have been performing together for life. But, the story behind how the Goodfellas came about is a lot more spontaneous, a moment of brilliance that has led us to be able to enjoy years of great music. Nal, Goodfellas’ band leader explains, “we have all jammed with each other prior to (forming) Goodfellas and through those jams we would casually mention how awesome it will be if we all form a band together performing songs that we love. Each of us had our own bands back then.The magical year was 2006 when each of us were without a band then, hence we decided to form a band together.”
I’m sure many of you have enjoyed Goodfellas’ music from them doing incredible acoustic numbers to hearing Ghaz’s incredibly smooth voice in Blurred Lines and even Mang spitting out raps in Can’t Hold Us. No genre of music or song is out of reach for this talented band whose talents seem to shine especially bright on the live stage with undeniable charisma. However, while Goodfellas as a collective are now well-known, the individual members still remain shrouded in mystery albeit only temporarily. Goodfellas are a 6 man band that includes Mang, Nal, Athif, Ezal and Rafi. Mang, the lead vocals and guitar player’s real name is Noriman and got his current moniker “from a very good old friend who taught me guitar and basically introduced me to live music. I stuck by the nickname “Mang” as a homage to him.” Nal, bassist and band leader has two loves, one obvious – music while the other anyone would be hard-pressed to guess – fishing, “I’m super-duper crazy about fishing!” Athif, the band’s guitarist keeps his introduction short, “I am Athif and I don’t eat vegetables!” and really who does? Rafi, the drummer claims to be “the shyest of the lot” and prefers “to let my drums do the talking” and if I had his kind of skills, I would let my drums do the talking as well. Ezal, on the keyboards, seems to be in quiet contention with Rafi for the shy member label as he says,” I’m a quiet, always the big picture kind of person. While I may play a few instruments, I can’t snap my fingers or whistle.” Lastly, Ghaz, the lead vocals who funnily enough despite the huge crowds they play to is actually claustrophobic around crowds!
Goodfellas have been steadily playing at Timbre for years and have gained a huge following among not only the Timbre regulars but really the whole Singapore. Their talents and penchant for live performances gave birth to something quite incredible on the last Saturday of every month in the form of Neon Nights! Mang tells me that “Goodfellas’ usual supporters at Timbre are already pretty enthusiastic when we play fast numbers; and the programming team thought it would be a good idea to dedicate one whole night of live music for the dance floor.” At first though, the idea of dancing and partying at Timbre was a little weird, “especially as the Timbre crowd is more used to just sitting down with their drinks and enjoying the live music from their seats” but it’s really quite hard to resist getting up to dance when the Goodfellas are on stage. “Audience response to Neon Nights so far has been great so far. Now we even see the crowd dancing at Timbre during our sets on non-Neon Nights.” They are really that good! Neon Nights is your excuse to dance your heart and night away while listening to incredible live performances by the Goodfellas whose voices are so overwhelmingly amazing that when you close your eyes, you are at your happy place. Plus, it’s held at Timbre who serves some of the best food in Singapore especially their pizzas thus creating a perfect and lethal combination of great food and music!
The Goodfellas are famous for their amazing covers of popular hits have actually “written 2 original songs that are completely different from each other – a soulful number and a rock one.” Their ability to play the entire spectrum of genre is so incredible especially when they are equally at ease with Motown and R&B as they are with hip hop, rock and pop. When asked what’s next for the Goodfellas, Mang replies “What we do every other day – we’re going to conquer the world,” if by world he meant the music world, then I have absolute faith that they will, though I’m a bit more skeptical on the other worlds that he fancies conquering.
The Goodfellas not only perform during Neon Nights at Timbre but also regularly. They can be found at Timbre @ The Substation on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights and Timbre @ The Arts House on Friday nights. Timbre has also recently rolled out an incredible new menu which I will be reviewing soon but which is now open to your tastebuds! The upcoming Neon Nights performance featuring the Goodfellas is on August 30th @ The Substation so don’t forget to head down for incredible music and food!
All Images Courtesy of Timbre Group.