Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Day the Music Most Assuredly Did Not Die

So today was the beginning of a week chock full of live music. 7 days, 6 concerts, 3 genres. This is usually summer stuff, so it's pretty swell to be enjoying this much good music in the midst of the nasty cold, wet, dreary weather.

First up: PBJ&Jazz. Let me take a moment to get you up to speed. Tom, he loves him some jazz. Like any of us who become passionate about something, he wants to turn everyone else on to it. I've always had a soft spot for jazz, so it was easy with me. It's been a harder road with the girls. Liv has remained pretty indifferent. But Liv doesn't like concerts. She wants to play, not watch others play. (I'm reminded of a fisherman I once knew who likened watching fishing shows to watching porn: he liked DOING both of the activities represented, but got NOTHING out of watching other people do them). Lea, on the other hand, has made no bones about the fact that she does NOT like jazz. Not a bit of it. No redeeming qualities, in her book.

So these are the girls and the attitudes we're dealing with.

Tom hears about this PBJ&Jazz program. His bass instructor is playing and he figures, what a great kid-friendly environment in which to introduce the girls to real jazz. We were promised sandwiches, cookies, juice, and an afternoon of kid-friendly jazz. Tom gets both girls to agree to attend (he must've caught them at a weak moment). When they tried to change their minds, I talked to them together and individually, explaining how important it was to their dad and convincing them to give it a chance. An hour or two out of their lives.

As we were pulling into the parking lot, I began to feel uneasy. There were a LOT of toddlers and pre-schoolers heading into the building, but I didn't see ANY older kids. Certainly no other pre-teens. Oh boy. What have we done?

When we got to the door, Tom asked the woman taking the cover charge if this was going to be an appropriate concert for older kids. She assured us that the music would not be watered down and that they would love it. She was unaware of their initial reservations and of how hard Tom and I had had to work to talk them into going in the first place.

To be fair, everything we were promised was delivered. There were sandwiches, cookies, juice, and jazz that had not been watered down. So we can't actually claim to have been mislead.

But it was SO geared towards little little ones.

About half way through the second song, Lea remarked to me, "I notice a lot of the adults have coffee..." Me: "Would you like coffee?" Lea: "Can I HAVE some?" Me: "Yep" We head over to the snack table and I pour about 1/4 cup coffee and add about an equal amount of cream and a couple packs of sugar. (I know, right?) She's pleased to have some "adult cred" and I figure no harm has been done. She comments several times on how good the coffee is here. But less than 5 minutes pass before her sister accidentally knocks the coffee out of her hands and onto the floor. And me. And her sister. And her sisters favorite jacket. Liv cries silently while Tom and Lea clean up the mess. (Thank goodness I'd had the foresight to only pour 1/2 cup total...)

Shortly after this Liv is still sobbing and I'm somehow holding 2 coats while both girls lean on me and Tom, bless his heart, says, "maybe we oughtta cut out early".

The upside of the whole thing was, though, that both girls "kinda liked" the music and Lea admitted that there might be something to it, even if it wasn't My Chemical Romance.

Win or fail? Hard to say. (Especially since I'm way too old to be using either of those terms in their current incarnation. They must be 5 minutes ago. Wait. That probably is, too. Shit.) I think we'll call that one a draw.

Next up? The grand opening of the Rock Factory. If you've seen School of Rock, you know a little bit about how the Rock Factory works. Kids not only take lessons individually, but are also taught the finer points of being in a band. They learn to play together and really put on a show. They also learn a little bit about writing and performing their own songs. It's a neat program. The program has existed for a couple years, but today was the grand opening of their own digs. They're also featuring artwork throughout the facility done by local high school students. So it's being billed as an art gallery, rehearsal hall, and performance venue. Pretty heady stuff for such young kids!

Our friends daughter has been involved with this project for quite some time and today she debuted a song she wrote. She is a talented guitarist and bassist, but has lately turned her attention to vocals, and I gotta tell you - she rips 'em up. Her voice has sounded great since day one, but her stage presence is really coming into its own. And she's starting to master the rock screams, which I've gotta admit, I don't hate. And the song she wrote? Only awesome.

Lea and Liv love going to these shows - and why not? It's kids they can relate to getting to be on stage as rock stars. Liv was particularly impressed tonight and talked about it ad infinitum in the car afterwards and at dinner. She especially liked the drummer, who she enthusiastically described as, "both loud AND fast!" If there are two things she likes in a drummer, it's volume and speed.

This one was made of win. No question.

With barely a break in between, Tom and I dropped the girls off at home and headed to BoMA to hear the Gene Bertoncini Trio, consisting of Gene Bertoncini, Doug Richeson and Dane Richeson. This was a really neat venue. BoMA is an old church which has been re-purposed into an upscale restaurant, various bars, and at least one dance floor. We've seen this trio many times before and have always been impressed. Doug is Tom's bass instructor and we really enjoy listening to him every chance we get. Dane is his brother and he is a rather amazing percussionist. We've seen Gene play a few times before and we always enjoy his mad guitar skillz as well as his utterly enchanting stage presence. Genes style is a little more romantic than I'm used to hearing. What I'm used to hearing is whatever Tom plays, and his tastes tend to run a little more towards hard be-bop. I've probably misused a couple terms. On accounta the fact that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

I don't know music, but I know what I like.

And this was another one for the win column.

Draw, win, win and the opportunity to hear 3 bands in one day. Not bad. Not bad at all.


bassislife said...

I do think it helped that the songs they played at PBJ & Jazz were recognizable to the girls, even if they were The Flintstones and Sesame Street themes.

I'm just happy they tried.

mommakin said...

They did - and they didn't hate it. Now talk to Doug about covering The Black Parade and you're in...