Monday, February 02, 2009

A Shlockin' pre-birthday bash

What fun! I had a grand time dancing in the back of the room, not to mention singing harmony, at Saturday night's Shlock Rock concert. More's the pity that they won't be back in New York City anytime soon. Sorry none of my blogger buddies could make it. If you have an opportunity to attend a Shlock Rock concert, go, take your spouse (or your date, if you're not there yet), your kids and their grandma, your best buddies, the gang from shul--Shlock Rock's music and shows are great fun and squeaky clean.

Thanks to Psycho Toddler/Mark Skier for introducing us to Shlock Rock. We first saw a 1991 Shlock Rock video on Mark's music website (click on the link to the Video page [which tends to make my Firefox Internet crash when I link directly] and scroll down--it's the oldest and last video on the page) as well as some more Shlock Rock videos from 2005 (slighter farther up on the Video page), and thought it would be fun to catch the band in person. Amen to that!

This is the third Shlock Rock concert that we've attended, and I've been having fun comparing them. I first thought of this because, when Shlock Rock founder and leader Lenny Solomon greeted us at the entrance while the stage was being set up, we asked whether his sometime-sidekick, Etan G., "The Jewish Rapper," would be there, and he said that he couldn't afford to pay Etan on such a low-budget tour. Sure enough, this was the smallest version of the Shlock Rock Band that we've seen--just a drummer, a guitarist (Mo Shapiro, a good one), and Lenny on keyboard.

But that wasn't the only difference. The first Shlock Rock concert we saw was a full-band concert with drummer, lead and bass guitars, Mark Infield on woodwinds (and singing falsetto), Etan G. taking the lead on the rap songs, and, of course, Lenny on keyboard and vocal lead. Lenny took advantage of having such a full group to do several of his doo-wop songs and to get down off the stage and work the audience, which was largely a family crowd. Conga lines snaked around the room during "Into the Sea." Everyone had a blast!

The second Shlock Rock concert that we saw, apparently a moderate-budget show (without Etan G. or Mark Infield, but with Mark Skier on bass) had a mixed audience that included a few kids and a very large contingent of seniors. (Methinks 'twas no accident that the volume was a lot lower at this gig. :) .) Everyone had a grand time, but in a mostly more subdued manner (aside from Ms. Dancin' Fool, of course, who doesn't know from subdued :) ).

This past Saturday night's audience was completely different. Though there were some kids and younger people, and us old geezers in the back, the vast majority of the audience was composed of folks in their twenties, thirties, and forties. This age group had grown up listening to Shlock Rock, which has been around for 22 years. Some knew Lenny from his days with the "JyPSYs," Jewish Public School Youth, which he described as Shlock Rock's predecessor, and he greeted several of them by name from the stage, even inviting them to "give Lenny a vocal break" and sing one of his parodies. (One guy took him up on the offer.) Lenny had a great time asking people to sing along, even jokingly admitting that he knew no one listened to Shlock Rock between the ages of 12 and 18 because it was considered uncool. He also enjoyed asking this rock-literate crowd to name which bands had influenced him in composing particular songs. Everyone had a wonderful time, band and audience alike.

I think Lenny's a natural performer. Having seen him perform, with equal enthusiasm, to three totally difference crowds, I daresay I don't think Lenny Solomon has ever seen an audience that he didn't love. So go and enjoy.

Oops--almost forgot to add the photo of Lenny and the almost-birthday gal! Thanks to the Punster for taking the picture.

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