In a city where the stroller set may still want to incorporate live music into their lives, it's only fitting that someone has created an event series that allows them to do so. Kidrockers brings kids, their parents and indie rock together as "artists perform original (not specifically made for children) songs in a manner that is both authentic and kid-friendly." Hosted by Seth Herzog and Craig Baldo, some of the past musicians/bands have included: Ira from Nada Surf, Ra Ra Riot, Langhorne Slim, Tad Kubler of the Hold Steady, Reggie Watts and many many more. This Sunday they're back at the Living Room for another kid-friendly rockfest (details here), and organizer Beth Marx Lorge told us a little bit about the series.
When and how did Kidrockers get started? My husband and I were listening to a lot of new music and going to see shows after our second child was born. We’d make mix CDs and play them for our kids and share them with friends. We all got into bands like Langhorne Slim, Locksley, Levy, Chris Barron and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. We’d go to see the bands and feel bad that the kids were missing out. Then the idea hit that we could put on “all ages” rock shows where we could share the experience as a family. In January 2007, we tried the concept out at The Underground Lounge (a small venue uptown) and knew from the response of the kids, adults and the bands that we were onto something. We ended up having to turn the first show into two shows to fit everybody.
How often are there shows, and are you thinking of expanding the series? We have a monthly show at The Living Room. This year, we started additional shows at the new 92Y Tribeca and (Le) Poisson Rouge. We also have put on Kidrockers shows as part of larger festivals and events in the New York area, including The Pumpkin Festival in Central Park and Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square. We’ve expanded to LA at a venue called The Echo and are talking with venues in other cities. We are also working on expanding to other boroughs and venues in the tri-state area. We recently filmed a show for a pilot that a few networks are considering.
Is there an age minimum? We don’t have an age minimum, but think that the shows are suited for kids three and older.
How do the bands change their shows for the young ears? We encourage the bands to play their songs as they normally would. We work with the venues to carefully monitor volume.
The main difference is interactivity. Bands tend to talk a lot more with the audience, step offstage to perform and invite kids onstage to join in. We also have an “ask the band” session during each set moderated by hosts Seth Herzog and Craig Baldo. Questions sometimes relate to music (e.g., How much do you practice? What was the first song you wrote? Any tips for drummers?). Sometimes they don’t (Do you have any brothers? What’s your favorite part of Shrek?).
What would be your ideal Kidrocker concert lineup? When we started Kidrockers, we had a wish list that included a lot of the bands that have already played - The Hold Steady, Nada Surf, Langhorne Slim, Rogue Wave, Ra Ra Riot. We’re always thinking about this and currently daydream about TV on the Radio, The Kooks, Silversun Pickups, Ben Kweller, Beck and Hot Chip.
Do you feel there's enough options in New York for parent-kid outings that both will enjoy? You can usually find something fresh to do with kids in the listings in Time Out Kids, GoCityKids, UrbanBaby, NY Times Spare Times and NY Post Best Bets.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. Once, I got on the bus with my kids who were fighting over whether to take the bus or a taxi. I couldn’t get them to quiet down and felt like the whole bus was watching. Out of no where, a gigantic construction worker turns to my kids and says: “Listen to your mother. I have a belt and I’ll use it.” Terrified, we moved to the back of the bus where my kids behaved perfectly.
Which New Yorker do you most admire? I have three. Lin-Manuel Miranda. In The Heights. We used to watch Lin-Manual perform with Freestyle Love Supreme at Ars Nova. Mesmerizing. People would shout out topics and FLS would create these great songs on the spot.
Jesse Hartman. Musician, filmmaker and entrepreneur. Two Boots is a one of a kind pizzeria in a city of a thousand Rays. Mo Pitkins was elegant and edgy. Jesse is a terrific songwriter, performer and actor. I love his song “Toast.” He’s about to put out a movie called “House of Satisfaction.”
Shirley Braha. Founder of NY Noise. She’s only 26! I met her at a KEXP CMJ event at Gibson studios. Shirley said that our kids must think that we are the coolest parents. They don’t! But Shirley is cool!
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? I’d have the City subsidize music venues and musicians the way they help banks and car companies.
Do you have a favorite New York celebrity sighting or encounter? I love celebrity sightings in New York and like to believe they are two way experiences! I’ve gone to Knick games with Tim Robbins, lunched with Billy Crudup at Barbuto, had my birthday dinner alongside James Gandolfini, walked on Atlantic Beach with Lou Reed, went shirt shopping with Brad Pitt at Paul Smith, saw the Blue Jackets with Chris Martin and Blythe Danner, pushed strollers down Columbus Avenue with Conan, saw the Jackson Pollack exhibit with Sheryl Crow, ran around the reservoir with Kevin Bacon, sat with Ben Stiller at Spelling Bee, and had lunch with Paul McCartney at Hampton Chutney.
What's your current soundtrack? Some songs currently in heavy rotation include: “5 Years Time” Noah and the Whale, “Untrust Us” Crystal Castles, “Furr” Blitzen Trapper, “Blood Red Rose” James Levy, “This Ain’t A Scene” Henry Clay People, “Temporary People” Joseph Arthur, “Sway” The Kooks, “Where Do You Run To” Vivian Girls, “I Kissed a Girl” Katy Perry, “DLZ” TV on the Radio, “Ghost Under Rocks” Ra Ra Riot, “Say Yes” Afternoons, “Use Somebody” Kings of Leon, “Sweet Soul Dream” World Party.
Best cheap eat in the city. Chicken Parmagiana hero at Mariella’s on 3rd Ave. at 17th Street. Kampuchea on the corner of Allen and Rivington always hits the spot before “Sweet” at The Slipper Room or a show at Pianos, Rockwood, Mercury or Bowery.
Best venue to see music.
The Living Room—that’s where I feel most at home. Especially on a Sunday afternoon!