As I’ve said before, Harry and the Potters always put on an amazing show. The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn was a fairly small location, promising an intimate if crowded experience. The line snaked down Metropolitan Avenue, sporting all sorts of Potterheads; cosplayers like me, grown fans, young fans, first timers, and veterans, all buzzing with excitement. Like-minded people tend to make friends and the Harry Potter fandom contains some of the friendliest. Though I waited for our Producer/Webmaster, Matt Storm, to meet me, I was not lonely as I made a new friend in line.
Harry and the Potters sold out yet another show, much to the chagrin of late comers, hoping for last minute tickets. When the doors opened at 6:30, it was a mad dash to see who would be closest to the stage and what familiar faces could be spotted in the crowd. Merch booths were set up in the back, alongside a Harry Potter Alliance table dedicated to voting registration (Learn more about Wrock the Vote and the HPA). Paul and Joe DeGeorge wandered the floor, making last minute preparations and talking with the opening act.
Promptly at 7:00, Uncle Monsterface poured onto the stage. At first, they were a startling sight. Keyboards player and guitarist dressed neatly in button down shirts and ties, their drummer dressed a little more plainly in an innocuous t-shirt and pants (unfortunately he was hidden from my vantage point and I cannot provide more detail on his appearance). Their lead singer/bassist, however, though wearing a button down shirt and tie, was dressed more eccentrically. There were ragged holes where his sleeves should have been, a sweatband over his brow, rabbit ears on his head, and his pants were hitched up about his knees as he marched barefoot across the stage. Once Uncle Monsterface got started, I was slow to appreciate them. Between their hodgepodge appearance and that they started their first song with the use of a sock puppet, I was hard pressed to relax into the sound. After the initial song, though, they were easier to enjoy. Their energy was infectious, gearing us up for the acts we initially came to see. They spent their set promoting their new album: Rise of the Lava Men. Many songs performed that night came from this to be released album. They also squeezed in their first and only Wizard Rock song, “In My Room of Requirement”. During this, Joe and Paul DeGeorge wheedled onto the stage to lend their talents. I found them to be enjoyable overall. Their high energy and ridiculous behavior set the mood just right for the rest of the show. If you click here, you can check out their web site and also get a free download of their new song “(Don’t Fear the) NINJA” which, unfortunately, has no cowbell.
After Uncle Monsterface took their leave, a large box was brought center stage. A window was cut out and a red curtain hid what was inside. This meant one thing. A puppet show! Not just any puppet show, but The Potter Puppet Pals. I know they’re not a band, but some of their acts contain music. That counts, right? The Potter Puppet Pals, created by Neil Cicierega, are famous for their Harry Potter parodies done with delightful puppets. Each puppet represents an outrageous caricature of their literary counterparts-- Harry is more arrogant, Ron is sillier and more daft, Hermione is even haughtier. Videos such as The Mysterious Ticking Noise, Wizard Swears, and Bothering Snape have made their rounds on the internet so many times that they are instantly recognizable.
Cicierega put together a fantastic live show, starting with Harry Potter, the boy ready to sacrifice his awesome bod for the greater good, heading into the Forbidden Forest to greet death. The audience was then treated to a recap on the most memorable times in the boy-hero’s life with a couple of song numbers along the way. While poking fun at the ridiculous, fans were thrilled by old favorites. The Potter Puppet Pals kept spirits raised and humor high. As Harry remembered his awful life with the monstrous Dursley’s, we can see with fresh eyes how unreal the abuse Harry suffered was, the favoritism for Dudley, and how running off with a stranger is preferable to living another day with their cruelty.
The journey continues from making a new friend, eating and singing about wizard treats, stealing a car, visiting J.K. Rowling in the real world, to hanging out with Dumbledore as he bobs for apples. Finally, the confrontation. Can Harry go through with it? No Way! He’s too awesome to die! And so, he must convince Voldemort to give up his evil ways and give in to the power of Wizard Hugs. After much cheering and applause, the Potter Puppet Pals left the stage and we waited for the main attraction. Click here to visit the Potter Puppet Pals online and watch their videos!
In my previous article, I mentioned that Harry and the Potters are by no means musical genius. However, their talent live blows their recordings out of the water. Paul and Joe DeGeorge transform into Harry Potter and Harry Potter with the help of round glasses and Gryffindor ties. Their ever-changing drummer-- this time Summer Santa, a young man sporting a Santa hat-- does not always take part in the transformation. Joe DeGeorge plays keyboards, saxophone, and sings while his brother, Paul, plays guitar and sings. Their excitement flies through the roof. They jump into the audience, pass the mic around, and help us to relive our favorite story if only for a short time. Audience participation is a huge draw for their live show. Without it, they wouldn’t be as fun to watch. They feed off of us as we feed off of them.
To offset how short some of their songs are, they replayed “Accio Hagrid” (which is a five line song with accompanying dance moves) whenever there was a break and at odd times to catch us off guard. A full hour and a half on stage, they kept the pace high even during their encore. There was one moment in particular where Harry and the Potters really showed why they continue to perform. During “The Weapon”, a slow melodic song that counters their fast paced tunes, everyone began to sing along softly. It was a rare moment where we sang in harmony. We were one, united by our love for a boy who lived. That moment, as fleeting as it was, stirred something in me. Standing there, I knew I would never be alone. I had the love of my life beside me, friends among strangers, and a heart filled to the brim with joy and love. Harry and the Potters are very good at bringing out the best in us. After their encore, where the music stopped and there was nothing but our voices to keep the show going, Harry Potter and Harry Potter wrapped up, wishing everyone a magical journey and friends to see us through. Click here to visit the Harry and the Potters web site and hear some of their songs!