At the foot of Warren Street in Parade Hill, Uncle Rock was checking his guitar tuning as he stepped onto the stage for his headlining show at the Hudson Pride Family Day Festival. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with gentle breeze blowing off the mighty Hudson. He stepped up to the microphone and launched into his opening number, a rousing cover of David Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel.”
Obviously, Uncle Rock is not your average children’s music performer.
“Shel Silverstein meets Buddy Holly.” – The Los Angeles Times
“Kids’ music with an edge.” – The New York Daily News
“A star among the young.” – The New York Times
Woodstock singer-songwriter Robert Burke Warren has been the bassist in numerous rock ‘n’ roll bands, including international garage-rock sensations, the Fleshtones. He’s portrayed the title character onstage in “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” in London’s West End. And he’s also co-written songs for multi-Grammy winner Rosanne Cash and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson.
Uncle Rock is also celebrating the recent release of his fourth kids’ music album, “The Big Picture,” and he’ll uncork such hook-filled, kid-friendly fare as “My Friend Bigfoot” and “Leave the Bees Be” in concert at the Hudson Opera House in Hudson at 2pm on Saturday.
Here he performs “Uncle Rock U.” and “Rock Out” at Kidtopia in Woodstock in 2008:
UP AGAINST THE WALL…: Under the direction of choreographer Amelia Rudolph, the members of the anti-gravity dance company Bandaloop turn the exterior walls of MASS MoCA into their daring vertical stage for performances at 3 & 5pm today through Sunday, August 23.
Bryan Heggie: Googly Eyes # 2
Don’t forget, if you’re in North Adams, about the DownStreetArt Initiative — take a quick (or extended) spin through downtown North Adams and see some world class art. We’ll have a more in-depth look next week, but this is the last week to see Bryan Heggie as the featured artist at Avalon Seafood Gallery.
Casperland is looking for 8-bit/chiptune musicians to perform at their gallery space at Troy Night Out next Friday, although they may have found someone by now. You can contact them through their website.
KIDZAPALOOZA: If the kids are driving you crazy as the summer begins to wind down, there’s a wealth of great children’s entertainment to keep them occupied on Sunday, August 23. Uncle Rock and the Playthings team up with Paul Green’s School of Rock All-Stars for Kidstock, a free show at 1pm Sunday at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount. It’s a benefit for Snuffy’s Food Pantry Program, so bring along a pet food donation, please.)
At 3pm, children’s music faves Terri Roben and Andy “The Music Man” Morse team up with some surprise special guests to perform the music of kids’ music fave Paul Strausman at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. Strausman died suddenly in December, and the kids’ show is a benefit for his own children.
And then you can wrap up your Hudson Valley-trotting day at 7pm Sunday with a stop at the Central Park Music Haven in Schenectady, where the summer concert series wraps up with a free performance by Ruth “Miss Music Mobile” Pelham, and her pals, Ramblin Jug Stompers.
An entry from last year's contest (photo by Nancy S. Donskoj)
IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE: Sometime about 1pm on Sunday, August 23, the wheels will get rollin’ for the 15th annual Artists Soapbox Derby, “speeding” down Broadway in Kingston towards Rondout Creek. Last year, there were 42 “cars” entered in the derby, and they were cheered on by more than 8,000 art-car enthusiasts. This year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. But not necessarily faster, because, you see, it’s not really a race – entries are not judged on speed, but rather on creativity and engineering. But there’s more than $2,000 in cash prizes, so roll on…
ON THE FRINGE: This is definitely the odd-ball billing of the week. The Woodstock Fringe Festival is presenting the second of three “Evenings of Music, Humor and Wisdom” at the Byrdcliffe Theatre in Woodstock on Sunday. Joe Raiola, a favorite with Fringe audiences for his critically acclaimed one-main show “Almost Obscene,” will serve as host of an entertaining and provocative evening that features pop-rocker Marshall Crenshaw (who recently released another new nugget-filled album, “Jaggedland” on the 429 Records label), comedian Denny Dillon (a “Saturday Night Live” alum) and Stephan Rechtschaffer (co-founder of the Omega Institute). No word yet on whether they plan to end the evening with a jam on “Louie, Louie”…
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival, Uncle Rock, the Belleayre Music Conservatory and original festival co-producer Michael Lang bring you Kidstock at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount on Sunday, August 23. Doors open at 12noon.
A free family concert, Kidstock is an interactive festival to benefit Friends of Snuffy’s Food Pantry Program. Attendees are asked to bring along a pet food donation for our furry and feathered friends in need.
Family music troubadour and Kidstock host Uncle Rock and his band the Playthings will kick off the festivities at 1pm, followed by Paul Green’s School of Rock All-Stars.
Ranging in age from kindergarten to high school, this band is the cream of the world-renowned Paul Green’s School of Rock, the real-life inspiration behind the “School of Rock” movie starring Jack Black. They will close the day’s festivities with their “Tribute to the Music of Woodstock.”
Festival-goers of all ages are encouraged to dress in the style of their favorite musical era or musician. Everyone will get an eyeful at the Rock & Roll Fashion Show, featuring small fry models strutting their stuff across the stage in everything from punk to glam to hip-hop fashions.
It's a great excuse and luxury, having a job and blaming it for your inability to do your own art. When you don't have to work, you are left with the horror of facing your own lack of imagination and your own emptiness.