Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I have never read a Harry Potter book. The only knowledge I have is from watching all 5 of the movies thus far. It's not that I don't like Harry Potter, I've just never gotten around to reading the books (and I don't think I ever will). And I am endlessly fascinated with how these books affect people. It was really creepy walking around town when the last book, The Deathly Hallows, came out. Everyone was reading it. Nobody was talking to each other. It was like everyone had been brainwashed. You'd see a family of four, sitting at a table in a cafe, all reading their own books. There's something at least a little wrong with that. Well, the new documentary We Are Wizards, takes a look at the sub-culture that Harry Potter has created and how it's effected people. I caught this movie as it was showing for the Independent Film Festival Of Boston and after the movie, there was a Wizard Rock show with Harry And the Potters, Draco And The Malfoys, The Whomping Willows, and The Hungarian Horntails.
We Are Wizards was a great, fun documentary. It's not a movie that you need to have read the Harry Potter books to enjoy. The first part of the movie focused on the aforementioned bands, the ones that play music about Harry Potter. Known as Wizard Rock (or WRock), it has become a sizable genre of music with hundreds of bands sprouting up on MySpace. All four of the bands that performed live afterwards were featured in the movie. There were also tales of lawsuits from Warner Brothers that were thwarted by kids around the world that run Harry Potter fansites. And of course, genius creator of that Washington video Brad Neely was on hand to talk about his Wizard People, Dear Reader...thing. Neely created a voiceover to be played along with the first Harry Potter movie with the movie's volume turned down (similar to what MST3K is doing now). The twist is, Neely has never read the books. He was just a fan of the movie and thought it would be funny to create his own story. A lot of the people featured in We Are Wizards were at the screening. Neely was also at the WRock show afterwards, but I was too nervous to go talk to him. I couldn't think of anything to say. Anyways, We Are Wizards takes a really interesting look at how Harry Potter has shaped our society in a good way. If that sounds like your kind of thing, well, then go see it.
You want to know what the best part of a WRock show is? It's the adults' unabashed love for all things Harry Potter and not being ashamed to rock out and have a good time to bands singing about HP. Everybody is positive, nobody is judging, and the room is full of awesomeness. Take, for example, The Hungarian Horntails. They are two brothers, about 7 and 5 years old, singing about being a dragon. The 7 year old is the lead, plays guitar and sings, while his younger brother does backup vocals. Some sample lyrics: "I am a dragon and I don't care, I just wanna see people scared!" These kids embody what it means to be a WRock band. They have no fear, no shame, and just do what they love. And because they were performing in Boston (home to the Boston Tea Party) they threw dozens of tea bags into the audience at the end of their set. Nice touch. The rest of the show was just as fun. The Whomping Willows is a one man band, singing from the perspective of a tree, a really horny tree I might add. And then there's Draco And The Malfoys, who are two brothers singing about how much they hate Harry and love Voldemort.
Ahhhh, and finally there's Harry And The Potters. They have really matured since their first CD. In the beginning, they were just some kids playing mediocre music from the perspective of Harry Potter. Now, now, they can rock with the best of them and craft super catchy songs that make you laugh out loud. My love for Harry And The Potters is unrequited. Maybe I don't get all of their jokes, but I don't need to. I enjoy it all the same (and Elise lets me in on some of the more obscure jokes sometimes). The Harrys are such an energetic live band that really know how to engage the crowd. They get you singing and dancing and their number one priority is making sure you're all having a great time. Their recorded music is fantastic (and if you've never heard them before, start with The Power Of Love) but seeing them live is a totally different experience and is one that everyone should participate in at least once.