Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winding Down 2012 With (Uncle) Rock

The year 2012 went out with a musical blast. First we saw Billy Kelly at the LICM. Now it was time for the gentleman music farmer from upstate, Uncle Rock at Symphony Space.

As I wrote a few weeks back, this blog is in part the result of Robert Burke Warren recording children's music and getting it played on a podcast that we began to listen to. Click here for the entire story.

An earlier start time (11 am) than Billy Kelly (1 pm) worked in our favor, as did an extra holiday train that allowed us to arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime – and Matt decided to take a rare morning nap, which made him happy and perky for most of the concert.

As Ben pointed out, the last time we saw Uncle Rock was at Symphony Space – four years ago. A lot has happened since then including the release of THE BIG PICTURE, Robert's most complete statement on the state of his career.

We arrived as Robert concluded his sound check and stumbled upon our group in the foyer. He asked Ben for any requests. Ironically, Ben had just issued an entire rundown of Uncle Rock songs, which Robert asked him to repeat, pen and paper in hand.

The Family series at Symphony Space has served us well over the years, introducing us to artists such as Dan Zanes and allowing us to see performers from around the country. San Francisco's Sippy Cups were a treat, as were South Carolina's own Lunch Money.

Robert opened with "My Favorite Things," which we've heard him cover going back to shows at Books of Wonder. Many adults chose to sing along, causing some major looks of confusion and consternation from the tykes. That was not the case with "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which got adults and kids singing along.

The hour-long set involved much audience participation, and Robert has his patter down to a science. One early toddler yowl invoked the expected Axl Rose reference, to the mystification of anyone under the age of 10.

For a year-ending show, there were not many big themes discussed ("Leave the Bees Be" and "There Is No Away" were unplayed). Robert chose to stick with his lighter tunes, "Disco Nap" and "Shake It Off" behind highlights.

"It's Hot, Don't Touch It!" became an instant favorite of Matt's. He returned home and has repeated it like a mantra many, many times. We'll see what happens when it turns up in one of Ben's playlists in the future.

Has it really been four years since we saw Uncle Rock? Apparently so. But now that Matt has met his newest uncle, we'll have to arrange another encounter in a shorter timeframe. 

You can purchase Uncle Rock's music through Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

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