Live review: Kidzapalooza Day 2
If Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chrissie Hynde isnt the biggest name to grace the
Kidza stage, shes damn closecompeting only with Slash, Jeff Tweedy and Perry
himself for the combo of wattage and cred.
The Pretenders leader came today with her latest band,JP, Chrissie + The Fairground Boys, formed with Welsh singer-songwriter JP Jones and touring behind their strong debutalbum,Fidelity!, which drops this month.
Its an odd gig for Hynde and Jones, given that the album mines their experience as
accidental soul mates who cant have a family together because of the three decades
between them. In fact, the album is named after the child theyll never have. So
playing for a bunch of families had to be a bit awkward for them.
They came out to by far the biggest Kidza ovation of the day, and sure enough, Hyndereferenced the situation by saying, Oh, you all have kids
But then they kicked into the rootsy material from the album and it was all good.
You look better than a double shot and a pint of beer? Hell, itll give the
kiddies something to ask about on the ride home.
Hyndes voice, perfectly seasoned, can still send a chill down your spine, and the
band settled quickly into a tight triple-guitar (two acoustic) groove.
Jones and Hynde shone on a muscular duet, Fairground Luck, inspired by the fact
that his mom was a fairground traveller in Wales. Hynde loves fairground imagery,
which was one of the serendipitous coincidences that drew them together.
Hynde couldnt help getting a bit naughty after that, asking the audience, Anyone
got a little Welsh in them? before pausing for a big beat, cocking her head and
breaking into a broad grin before shaking her head in amusement and kicking into theatmospheric Meanwhile, which showcases her swooping, soulful vocals and creativephrasing.
After explaining that the album is about what happens when an older woman meets amuch younger man, Hynde deadpanned, But the kids here are safe as long as Im uphere onstage.
The single, If You Let Me, another duet, showed that Jones has got some good
pop-singer chops as well, even as the complex emotions of the song sailed over the
tykes heads. Rocker to the core, Hynde decided not to pander to the pint-size
crowd, not that there was ever any doubt.
One of the best sets Ive seen at Lolla, let alone Kidza. If you like Hynde, check
the album out.
Sounding a bit like Lou Reed with a dash of Dylan, Del Fuegos frontman turned kiddierocker Dan Zanes kicked off his Kidzapalooza set this afternoon with a rootsy
rendition of Rock Island Line to a full family lawn.
Backed by the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra, the New Hampshire rocker cut a
dapper figure with white pants, lime-green shirt and Garfunkel-ish pouf of salt n
pepper hair.He then led a singalong of Pay Me My Money Down punctuated by his grungy guitarwork. As a teen on mandolin took a verse, Zanes picked up the harmonica and blew afew riffs. It was turning into a regular hootenany.
Grabbing the mandolin, Zanes went into a Spanish folk number with another singalongchorus, and all that was missing was a beach and a margarita to complete the mellowgood-time vibe.
Switching to the banjo, Zanes took a musical detour through the West Indies,
underscoring his commitment to exploring multicultural music for kids, and his
virtuosity as a multi-instrumentalist. (In fact, Zanes, clearly a wild-eyed
optimist, predicted the U.S. border with Mexico would be completely open for people
to cross as they please within eight to ten years.)
And then he got everyone up and dancing unless you have a note from your doctor
with Pete Seegers classic All Around the Kitchen, which sounded especially great
with the full orchestra grooving behind it.
Bottom line: Anyone who showed up early for Chrissie Hynde was in for a treat.
Zanes will play another Kidza set Sunday afternoon before the Verve Pipe closes
things out.Frank Sennett