April 30, 2016
The Lexington, London
This all-ages matinee show was designed to introduce kids to live music while letting their parents get out to a show without the desperate hunt for a babysitter. By the time Piney Gir took to the stage, it was already filled with balloons and face-painted youngsters. Soundcheck has never been so popular!
Some of the kids simply never left the stage. Special mention to the tiny tiger who studiously played hus trumpet through the entire show – occasionally in time!
The set was split for short attention spans, with interludes of poetry about David Bowie and a spooky story. Your eyes do not deceive you, there was also a giant bumblebee!
Importantly, the performance was as professional and vibrant as ever, despite the distractions. Piney Gir delivered the same accomplished, sunny indie-pop songs with delightfully dark undertones that recently delighted American audiences.
Crack Foxes also preserved their frenetic, punky vibe, drawing the kids into the music rather than watering it down for them. Picture a group of 2 to 7 year olds being taught to sing along to Hole’s Rock Star, and them them and their grunge-era parents pogoing to the Nirvana classic Molly’s Lips. Brilliantly, when asked if the music was too loud, one kid shouted “Not loud enough!” Another little live music convert exclaimed “I want the setlist!”
The Wimmins’ Institute dressed up for the occasion; four sparkly Elsas and a misguided pirate (the pirate theme was actually meant for the next show). They promised not to swear (this time…probably) and delivered a lively performance with plenty of in-jokes for the adults. There were songs about Nando’s, a punk rock Let It Go, and a rather brilliant careers advice/feminist tune about being a pirate. Sample lyric: “pirates don’t need willies!”
Opening act Argonaut knew their audience and engaged them with party bag gifts, musical statues and bananas! They had the little ones dancing and singing along in no time. A highlight was when the lead singer’s young son stormed the stage for an impromptu duet – surely a rock star in the making!
That was the great thing about this all-ages event – it got kids engaged with live music a good decade before than they might normally discover it. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if several were inspired to take up instruments and a lifelong love of music.
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For privacy I’ve only included photos of kids if their faces are obscured or painted but if you have any objections, please do let me know.