Monday, August 9, 2010

Great kids music - Recess Monkey, Verve Pipe, Dan Zanes

Yesterday, we had the fantastic experience of enjoying a concert featuring some of the top Kidzapalooza performers - all in the comfort of the crowd-free and rain-free James Hotel. (plus - admission-free!) The event was put on by The James Chicago and Kidzapalooza, and families were invited to enjoy children’s artists Recess Monkey, The Verve Pipe and Dan Zanes. In addition to these great performers, there was a complimentary continental breakfast, giveaways from Paul Frank (I somehow missed the raffle entry and am still kicking myself, the prizes were awesome!) And attendees all received a pretty impressive goodie bag with funky freebies from Paul Frank’s “Small Paul” line.

The show started with The Happiness Club, which is actually a group of local kids who use dance and music to promote positive social messages and values. Mia was literally captivated.

Next up was Recess Monkey, who we were introduced to just a few weeks ago. Mia’s been jumping up and down to this fun, catchy CD since hearing the very first note, and the live performance really delivered. These guys are great in concert – they interact with the kids and get them dancing and taking part in the music. Even little Mia was following instructions and shouting out on cue. They relate well to kids, and understand how to get them engaged and involved in the show.

Next was Verve Pipe, who we have loved since their show at Schuba’s in April. You probably know their hit song “Freshman” – and watching them certainly doesn’t really feel like watching a kids’ band. Great lyrics, infectious tunes and a real rock feel - and their humor resonates with kids and adults. Their performance ended with the song “Cereal,” with the lead singer shaking loads of cereal out of his guitar over some guy’s head. As the kids in the audience sized up the situation and got ready to make their moves, he stated, “the 5 second rule has expired.”

Dan Zanes, a kids’ music legend, finished up the show. When he started playing, it was like the Pied Piper had taken over, and all the kids gravitated to the front of the room and sat down. He literally captivated his audience, including Mia, who had never heard his music before. His guitar and harmonica were all that were needed to go along with his music, and we loved his cool, laid back vibe.

Overall, this was one of my favorite concerts so far this year. Did I mention the awesome goodies from Paul Frank? A kids t-shirt, onesie, zipper pull, ID tag necklace, socks, lip balms and a beanie monkey head. Unfortunately for Mia all of the clothes were for a 12 month old, but as soon as I know she won’t eat the lip balms, swallow the zipper pull or misuse the necklace, I’ll let her check those out. For now, she’s mastering her zipper skills with the funky monkey head.

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