Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Harry and the Potters, Potter Puppet Pals and Hank Green at the Vera Project

July 31st is Harry Potters birthday, and it was on July 31 2012 that the Vera Project had a Harry Potter themed-show to celebrate.

The lineup was Harry and the Potters, the Potter Puppet Pals (a puppet troupe, apparently they are big on youtube) and Hank Green (another youtube phenom). I suspect youtube has been important to all 3 groups careers.

The show sold out in short order, so a second late show was added, and it also came close to selling out. For a late show on a weekday night that's pretty impressive. I got called in to help steer, and although the crowd was huge it was extremely well behaved - in fact I'd have to call it the nicest large crowd I've ever seen at the Vera Project.

The crowd had lots of kids and adolescents, and a wide range of young adults to older adults, with most of the older adults being parents bringing their kids to the show. Kimya Dawson showed up with her child too, as a Kimya Dawson fan I was geeking out on that a little. There was no problem with inappropriate behavior in line of in the venue, and some of the fans brought birthday cakes and cupcakes and shared them they were good!

I managed to forget my tripod, so I didn't film complete sets. I got a handful of handheld footage from both shows, starting with Hank Green.
The crowd loved Hank Green, and he opened up with "Accio Deathly Hallows" which was his first viral hit, I believe. He was also funny, so I left a fair amount of his patter in. The crowd sang along with the choruses too, definitely a fun set

Hank finished up with members of Harry and the Potters and one of the puppeteers playing bass for a harder rocking version of "Accio Deathly Hallows" - so I'm posting 2 versions of the same song (I ended up with more than 2, since I also got a version or maybe 2 from the later set) but that's a side effect of being busy dealing with the large crowd and supervising a good crew of volunteers. The Potter Puppet Pals were funny and they managed to include a song or two, and I got at least one recorded. There's a song around 3 minutes in:

Finally we had Harry and the Potters headlining. The crowd is definitely into the call and response bit here at the beginning, and they play everything without apparent irony. Their songs are about plot lines from the books and 2 band members claim to be Harry Potter; they even have a breakdown where they kind of testify about those things Voldemort can't understand, like love and especially the power of music. It works because the audience loves it and they avoid overt sarcasm. The different approaches - Hank Green's focus on our external experience of the Harry Potter craze (among many other things), the Potter Puppet Pals humorous rifrs on the characters with made-up plots or parodies of existing plot elements, and Harry and the Potter's straight ahead retelling of plot elements in songs all illuminate different aspects of an interesting cultural phenomenon. I enjoy the enthusiasm and the lack of sarcasm, you don't see that too much in modern music.

I wouldn't have thought there was enough there to hold up through 2 complete shows and more than 600 people, but it did. Fans make the live experience go, and these fans were totally on board. I'm now exposed to a completely new form of music - wizard rock! ...and the viral roots of the success of these acts is also fascinating and inspiring. Definitely a fun show, they won me over, and I don't think I've ever seen my son so engaged by a show - he watched both sets and had a great time. Highly recommended!

No comments:

Post a Comment