10 August 2007

wizard rock

After spending a very fun day at the New Jersey shore yesterday, we were pretty beat and slept in quite late this morning. Once we downed a hearty breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon, we did manage to get ourselves out to the concert at the Free Library, featuring wizard rockers: the Moaning Myrtles, the Whomping Willows, and - all the way from California - the Remus Lupins.

Given our beach trip, we didn't have time to put together costumes for ourselves, though a number of the other 100 or so attendees were decked out in various attire ranging from robes, wands, and pink hair to Hogwarts school uniforms. And it was really fun.

These kids are pretty talented and sharp, with clever lyrics and obviously enjoying themselves. They all bring a message of literacy and the importance of reading, which they play out through their own imaginative engagement with Rowling's characters and world.

The Moaning Myrtles, from nearby New Jersey, are Lauren and Nina, two gals, now college-aged, with a guy named Justin who plays drum and accordion for them occasionally. Their emo-ish music comes through the eyes of Moaning Myrtle, vindicating Hagrid of her death, expressing her dislike of Hermione, talking about what its like to live in plumbing, giggling about spying on hot prefect boys, and so forth.

The Whomping Willows, from Rhode Island, is a guy named Matt who sings stuff that sounds like the Ramones with a penchant for Harry Potter, amazingly largely from the perspective of the magical tree, scolding Ron for crashing his dad's Ford Anglia or lauding the fact he's made of wand materials. Some of his lyrics do, however, veer off into, shall we say, not exactly G-rated territory.

The Remus Lupins is a fellow named Alex Carpenter from southern California, touring this summer with a couple of other guys on drums/sax and bass, producing pretty straightforward classic rock, though often going acoustic. While the songs include Lupin-oriented numbers such as "Teenage Werewolf", they run the gambit of HP-related themes.

When we got home from the concert, I looked up some of their websites and then more about wizard rock (or "wrock" or "wizrock") and was absolutely astounded to see the number of groups out there making this stuff. Here's a partial list of groups:
Draco and the Malfoys
Harry and the Potters
Justin Finch-Fletchley & The Sugar Quills
The Parselmouths
DJ Luna Lovegood
The Hermione Crookshanks Experience
The Hungarian Horntails
The Grey Ladies
The Cedric Diggorys
Dobby and the House Elves
The Loony Lunas
Ministry of Magic
The Bludger Kids
For the Love of Butterbeer
The Parselmouths
Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls
Ginny and the HeartBreakers
Roonil Wazlib
Severely Snaped
Gred and Forge
Privet Drive
The Half-blood Princess
Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons
Talons and Tea Leaves
Sibyl and the Centaur
Umbridge and the Inquisitorial Squad
Dubmledore's Army
Siriusly Black
Thestral
The Fleur Delacours
StellarVeela
Blast Ended Skrewts
Danny Dementor
The Weasley King
The House of Black
Marietta and the Sneaks
The Greybacks
The Sectumsempras
The Avada Kadavras
The Mudbloods
Number 12 Grimmauld Place
The Hinky Punks
Order of Merlin
Peeves and the Poltergeists
The Marauders
A Lightning Bolt Scar
We Are Wizards
Hermione and the Grangers
Neville and the Longbottoms
The Bludger Kids
Bella's Love
After listening through some, I thought a number were really pretty good. "The Weasley King" seems pretty talented, "Ministry of Magic" does music that's synth-heavy in an '80s kind of way, "Dobby and the House Elves" of course veer towards "house." It's a fascinating phenomenon, to say the least.