Monday, October 30, 2017

Joanie Leeds, Nightlights Spook Up a Storm at Symphony Space

A kid with special needs will occasionally pull a rabbit out a hat. "The last time we were here was in March for Lucky Diaz," Ben told me as we entered the Thalia Theater at Symphony Space this past weekend. "I spoke to Lucky about Billy Joel." That was indeed true, but real life moves at such light speed that it took Ben's verbal Post-It note to bring back a sudden flood of memories.

So it was indeed seven months between concerts at one of our favorite city venues. In the meantime, we've seen plenty of live music, including a Long Island appearance by the act we traveling to see on Saturday – Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights. However this was a difference iteration of the ensemble, gone acoustic and celebratory-themed for the morning, with many children (and adults) in attendance wearing Halloween costumes.

One of the perks of being a kindie community insider (of sorts) is learning about a performance prior to its occurrence. So I knew that Joelle Lurie of JoJo and the Pinecones would be a special guest, joining Joanie for two songs at the end of the set... although I was badly out of position when she finally took to the stage to sing vocal for "Love Is Love" and the a cappella "Stoop." Joelle is one of the new wave of kindie jazz acts to emerge of late, which includes Lucy Kalantari, Jazzy Ash, and Lori Henriques.

Symphony Space's Just Kidding program has been delighting and entertaining youth from around the region for years. We've been going since Ben was less than three years old and he still delights in the talents on display, even if he is the oldest kid in the room. You can hear him answering some of questions posed to the crowd by Joanie in her introductions. The trio (Joanie, Scott Stein, and Jeff Litman) ran through a set list that went back to her first CD (the song "Ice Cream"). While there were a number of hands raised for first-time attendees to a Leeds' concert, a number of people were clearly veterans who knew Joanie's favorite color is green (the song "I Wanna Be Green"). Joelle has strong chops as well, and her voice blended right into the harmonies (as you can hear on the two videos), in addition to belting out verses on "Love Is Love."

The Just Kidding series continues next week with bilingual rock from Future Hits (11/4). Down the road are puppets, more music, and theater events. Click through and check the calendar.

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