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So. Cal’s Aquabats Bring Their Sci-Fi Kids’ Show and Punk/Ska Music Back to Seattle, by Holly Homan

October has been a prolific month for concerts but the one I’ve looked forward to t most happened Thursday October 19 at the Showbox where the Aquabats headlined. Promoting their brand new album High Five Soup, the Aquabats, led by Mc Bat Commander were pure entertainment. This show was also a family affair. Spearheaded by the Aquabats kids TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, there were small children (some looked no more than two) sitting on parents’ shoulders, kids lined up along the barricade and kids all over.

Commander stated the fact that the Aquabats hadn’t been in Seattle for a long time (just over three years), but that “judging by all the kids here tonight, many of you have been busy.”

They sang many of their favorites, Cat with Two Heads (about a science experiment gone wrong) and My Skate Board (in which Commander proceeded to skateboard about the stage).

When they sang Super Rad there wasn’t a still body in the house including hoards of bobbing toddlers on shoulders.

For their song Pizza Day two giant inflatable pizza wedges were brought out and two small children placed on top and then systematically passed over the crowd, much to their sheer elation. Commander stated they’d love to throw everyone on a pizza slice but they could only afford two slices because of the economy and “you might want to pay closer attention to who you vote for next time.” That brought several cheers from the audience.

Besides props, there were costumed people who came on stage, one of whom called himself Raisin Poetry Clown. It was someone holding a baseball bat and dressed in a skin-tight suit, apparently to look like a raisin, and then proceeded to recite insulting poetry. Commander insisted the Aquabats didn’t condone violence. They were all for social justice and that the kids’ parents paid good money to bring them here. Suddenly three people dressed as white poodles came on stage and a mock fight ensued, ending with Commander spraying dry ice on everyone, making them disappear.

Towards the end of the show they played their song Luck Dragon Lady in which a giant pink dragon puppet was brought on stage operated by five puppeteers. It gracefully floated around the stage.

After that, giant inflated hamburgers were tossed to the crowd and continually butted into the air.

For the encore Commander invited all the kids still remaining (many by this time had gone home and the club was about half full) onto the stage and the entire stage was a sea of small children all under the age of 12 and a couple of them looking no older than two. When they played their song Pool Party they tossed a half dozen giant beach balls into the crowd while the children all jumped up and down.

This is a very physical band. All the members are constantly on the move whether it’s running about the stage, fighting off “criminals” or engaging young concert goers. Their show was part fun kids show, part circus act and part punk/ska show. But even though much of the entertainment was geared towards the younger set, it was in no way dumbed down and was enjoyed by all ages.

Though many left early, I am sure no one went home disappointed. Kudos to parents for bringing their tots to the show. I took my kids to see the Sex Pistols when they were three and seven. The Aquabats are, The MC Bat Commander – Vocals, Crash McLarson – Bass, Jimmy The Robot – Keyboards / saxophone, Ricky Fitness – Drums and Eagle “Bones” Falconhawk – Guitar.

Adorning the stage prior to the Aquabats was a punk/pop trio from Portland, OR calling themselves Mean Jeans. These guys were great! They’re another young band. I doubt any of them were thirty. But they knew how to put on a show! They put on a show full of youthful exuberance and a heavy smattering of humor. They have stage names of Billy Jeans (guitar), Junior Jeans (bass), and Jeans Wilder (drums). Junior had hair roaming just past his shoulders and he whipped it about constantly.

Mean Jeans has to come back to Seattle and headline their own show.

Unfortunately I arrived late and missed the first band, Dog Party. I had just crossed the threshold and heard them doing a killer version of Bikini Kill’s Rebel Girl. If that rendition is any indication of what these two women are capable of, I will definitely make the effort to see them when they return to Seattle. Dog Party is comprised of two women (Gwendolyn- guitar/vox Lucy Giles- drums/vox).

– All photos property of Holly Homan, all rights reserved.

Here is a review and some pix from Aquabats 2014 Seattle show.

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