Monday, February 19, 2018

Bazillions Beguile Juveniles of All Ages

With the threat of a wimper of winter weather wandering across our area, it was time to trek into Manhattan this past Saturday to see The Bazillions' triumphant debut at Symphony Space as part of the Just Kidding Kids series. Lead singer Adam Marshall pooh-poohed the prospect of "a couple of inches of snow," pointing out that the band hails from Minneapolis, where "a couple of inches of snow is what we call November."

Married educators Adam and Kristin Marshall were joined in this scaled-down performance by guitarist Mike Senkovich. They played to a packed Nimoy Theater (literally SRO) that seemed to alternately amaze and excite the trio, who went through tunes from all four of the band's CDs (according to Ben, who is my source for such fact-checking).

The Bazillions have used "educational rock and roll" as their mantra, although they attempted to push a more general "fun for all" family motif, picking their spots to actually teach without preaching. To that end, we had "Q and U," with audience participation (including a birthday girl whose party helped fill the auditorium) and "Silent E" (not the Tom Lehrer version).

Old favorites "Tommy Got in Trouble" and "Career Day" from their debut CD, ROCK-N-ROLL RECESS, helped anchor the set. But the Bazillions have never strayed far from their bread and butter (or is that peanut butter), so the songs all sounded fresh and fine, especially to one fan who traveled all the way from Buffalo, New York to finally see the band in person.

One of the most entertaining parts of going to a children's music concert is watching the reactions of kids who are clearly attending a live show for the first time. Many just sit in shock – amazed that such a thing actually occurs, not just on TV. Others dive right in, scrambling for a toy shaker or scarf, so they can join in the fun. But it's an unforgettable short-term memory that helps wire them for other musicians (and live arts) down the road. I don't know for sure how many kids qualified at the Bazillions – but many more were too happy to shout the names of their favorite action stars for "Superhero Rock Band." And many more will be happy to return for a different concert on another day.

Just Kidding Kids continues through March at Symphony Space with upcoming performances of The Joshua Show (Saturday, February 24) and the Not-Its (Saturday, March 3).

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