Saturday, February 01, 2014

Josh, Jamtones Get Symphony Space Jumping

So we went to a children's music concert this morning and a dance party broke out.

For the second time in three weeks, we were off to Symphony Space, this time for Josh and the Jamtones. Straight from Massachusetts, the band has developed a following through live performances and airplay on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live.


The six-person ensemble is a well-oiled bouncing machine that set out to grab the audience (a mostly full house in the Thalia Theater) and make them move. Well, except for my three-year-old, who sat transfixed for the entire show. When he got home, he proceeded to act out the set list, song by song. When my wife asked, "What did they sing next?" he replied with the correct title and added, "And Josh changed his guitar."

 The Jamtones are a family operation, including two-and-a-half people from Josh's immediate clan (himself, wife Patience, and a son-in-the-oven). So they are well aware of the dynamics of the typical kid's concert and tried to thwart parental expectations. "What holiday is coming?" Josh asked. Drummer Pat then threw back a number of incorrect suggestions, including Memorial Day. When Valentines Day was astutely named, a child in the audience yelled "Be my Valentine!" Josh replied, "That's sweet, we'll have to exchange information after the show."

Although their most recent CD was titled BEAR HUNT, the Jamtones did not engage in any bear-related activities, such as (but not limited to) trapping, stalking, skinning, or spoofing. To introduce themselves to the Upper West Side elite, they stuck with a 45-minute regiment of feel-good pop and reggae.

One could call the band "a group for all ages," as you can hear infants squealing on my video for "I Like to Move." That was one reason I reverted back to my primary position to grab one last video from the show.

As harmonica player Fred related after the show, "We like open source." And indeed, the Jamtones did go down the "old favorites" road, playing "Iko Iko" and "Monkey Man," as well as "Swing Lo Sweet Chariot."

Still, the kids didn't seem to mind. And their parents bopped their heads along with the tunes. For that short period of time, everybody forgot about the Super Bowl and what was for lunch. And that was enough, wasn't it?

You can get the schedule for upcoming performances at Josh and the Jamtones' website.
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