“Alright, let’s see you jump!” shouted Tim Kubart.
As keyboardist Dominic Fallacaro rolled out the synth line from the 1983 Van Halen mega-hit, a packed multi-generational audience happily obliged. The youngest members, aged 1 to 5, quickly formed a mini-mosh pit at the front of the stage, pleasing Kubart and his band mates to no end.
On Sunday, December 3rd, the Music Hall of Williamsburg hosted Frolic!’s 2nd Annual Rockin’ Holiday Show. Following the massive success of last year’s concert, the Northside play space was proud to present its band and signature music program Little Rock-its by Frolic!, as well as several special guests. Created exclusively for Frolic! by Kubart, who also fronts “kindie” rock group Tim and the Space Cadets, Little Rock-its mixes classic rock songs with original tunes that teach kids about counting, fashion-conscious dinosaurs and a special train that rumbles underground.
The event also showcased the goal of Frolic!, the first ever “rock ‘n’ roll” play space. Since opening in January, co-owners Carey Balogh and Julia Dawson have sought to cultivate a musical connection between parents raised on the Ramones and the Clash and their children. It was a choice born of the pair’s own experience transitioning from fashion careers to first-time motherhood. “It was about having an extension of ourselves,” said Dawson, “bringing the same vibe parents have to their children.” Frolic! currently houses an indoor playground filled with rock-inspired structures like a tongue slide a la the Rolling Stones and offers weekly Little Rock-its music classes for ages newborn – 6 years old. A new winter schedule starts January 14th and will run through April 28th.
Although it stayed kid-friendly, this was a show any real rock fan could love. Sound levels were adjusted so as not to deafen young ears, but not a single note or lyric was dumbed down. Moreover, the original songs were melodically infectious and packed their own charm. At one point, even Santa came out to boogie with the kids.
On stage, Kubart and Fallacaro were joined by fellow Little Rock-its members Dan weiner (drums), Pauline Pisano (vocals) and Nick Moran (guitar/vocals). Guest musicians contributed fantastic performances, whether it was Cara Samantha scorching through Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” Ann Courtney of Mother Feather singing native Greenpointer Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” and drummer Josh Dion banging out the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Jon Sandler drew large applause for his joyful rendition of “Dinosaur in the Clothing Store,” and fine guitar and vocal work was provided by Oscar Bautista, David Bailis, Jeff Kerestes and Grace Weber.
NY1 reporter Roger Clark, who first met Balogh and Dawson at a Metallica concert, was glad to introduce the show at the Music Hall. Little Rock-its happen to be one of his 22 month-old son’s favorite bands. “Frolic! is a great place for kids,” said the self-confessed jukebox addict. “Not that there’s anything wrong with Barney, but hey, why cant’t kids be opened up to what their parents listen to.”
Pisano agreed, crediting her work at Frolic! with sustaining her as an artist. “Kids’ music brings back the innocence of what music really is, especially living in New York City,” said the singer-songwriter. “Being for the kids makes it more fun. It saved music for me.”
In between songs, Kubart encouraged the kids to continue their love for music, and promised more future activities at Frolic! One program he was particularly psyched about was the upcoming Band Practice, prompting him to tell his students, “in a year or two, you’re going to be up on this stage instead of me!”
Sponsors for this year’s show were Little Duck Organics and the Bobby Jane Bakeshop, both of whom were on hand with products. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Kids In Distressed Situations, Inc. (KIDS) to help children in the Tri-State area affected by Hurricane Sandy.
For more information about Frolic! and Little Rock-its, including their album “Volume One,” visit www.frolicplayspace.com.