Friday, December 28, 2012

Billy Beats the Blahs at LICM

Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs, the pride of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, descended upon the Long Island Children's Museum on Thursday, December 27. Since the date fell during the winter break and Ben is a fan, we made the relatively short trek to Carle Place for the performance.

It was two-year-old Matt's first encounter with a museum – although a children's museum is vastly different from any traditional exhibition hall. For instance, the first thing the two kids did upon arrival was sit and build with Keva Planks for 10 minutes. Then we walked over and made giant bubbles for another 10 minutes. This might seem like a long time for either activity. I directed Matt to a faux beach sand area, where he happily sat down and began filling a bucket. They could have gone another 5-10 minutes at any of these attractions, but our late start meant we were already on the clock.

We headed upstairs (bypassing the tools area) and only saw about half of the second floor. It was time for Matt's destination appointment in the "Tot Spot," which Ben had enjoyed before he aged out in the mid-00s. Just writing that gives me a chill down my spine. He'll be 12 in two weeks!

The wife and Ben headed off to start lunch while I took Matt for some tot time. Having just gotten over a cold, this was his first re-exposure to a large play setting. Matt was overwhelmed at first by children running every which way, and he clung to me. But Matt dove from my arms when he saw the the "market" full of clunky fake food. Crisis averted.

Still, we were running short on time (and Matt was working on borrowed time with a nap coming imminently). After lunch, we all headed into the theater for Long Island-bred Billy Kelly and his band, the Blah Blah Blahs. The boys are prepping for the release of their fourth CD, "AGAIN," which comes out in January (look for my review). It's a peppy collection of tunes – we played it for the first time last night over dinner.

It's our first time seeing the band, but apparently Billy wears a red tie, white dress shirt, and black jacket when he plays. And here he was with just a silver bow tie and no jacket. As Billy explained, "The shirt is clean and the jacket is nicely pressed and they looked real good on the back of the bedroom door, where they still are, in Pennsylvania." Oops!

The trio worked a nice hour set that covered hallmarks of children's music performances – singalongs, questions and answers, false finishes, and even a fishbowl drawing for a t-shirt. For the finale, "Johnny Box" him/herself made an appearance and took pictures with attendees.

Ben, who seldom shows any hesitation to interact with performers, immediately began jawing with Billy from the second row. In return, Billy dedicated the next song (about his town) to Ben.

Highlights of the set included a cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" and a tune written for his wife, "You Made Me a Sock Monkey," both of which I caught on video (not very well).

For a power pop trio, the Blah Blah Blahs have a very full sound. The distaff version would be akin to the original touring version of Lunch Money (prior to the addition of a touring horn player).

Matt seemed riveted for the first half, then pitched sideways and was out cold for the remainder of the show. Oh well. A 1 pm concert start time appears to be a 2-year-old's kryptonite. Maybe things will work better with Saturday's Uncle Rock concert at Symphony Space. In any event, Billy puts on show that got many kids up and bopping and didn't appear to put any adults to sleep. The Blah Blah Blahs kept the blues away during the dog days of December.

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