You love music.
Your kid loves music.
What’s the problem?
Oh, right. You love rockabilly, salsa, U2 and the Grateful Dead. Your child prefers the extended remix of “Wheels on the Bus.”
A handful of local clubs feel your pain. This year, Atwood’s Tavern and the Sinclair in Cambridge and the Once Ballroom in Somerville have ramped-up kid-centric concerts that won’t drive parents crazy.
“We’re all about keeping our local music scene growing and healthy. Today’s toddlers will be tomorrow’s concertgoers,” Atwood’s talent buyer Randi Millman said. “Atwood’s has always been very rooted in community and neighborhood. We have so many of our neighbors coming at night for dinner or music or after work for a drink on the patio. It feels like the next right step to incorporate more family options into our space.”
Fans of Atwood’s will recognize a few names at its Sunday morning kids shows ($5 suggested donation). Jeremy Lyons of Vapors of Morphine launched the series with a DeltaSilly Music For Kids program. In May, local folk hero Dan Blakeslee has a set booked.
“I have played a few children’s shows before, but not really by playing songs one would label as such,” Blakeslee said. “There are so many great songs I remember from my childhood that my parents would play when I was growing up. I will play some of my own songs too that don’t have any adult themes and, of course, no cussing.”
Like Atwood’s, the Sinclair hopes to lure parents in with music the whole family will dig. Teaming with Rock and Roll Playhouse, a national organization that puts on concerts at a dozen rock clubs around the country, the Sinclair offers a Motown revue for all ages next month, a Beatles-themed show in May and a set of Dead songs for Father’s Day (tickets are $15).
“(Our) shows create a shared musical experience between parents and kids,” Playhouse co-founder Amy Striem said. “We look toward our families to help us develop the musical themes to curate our lineup at each venue. If the entire family is dancing, singing and laughing, we have a perfect show.”
Over at Once, Matt Heaton has been using a little bit of surf rock, a little bit of rockabilly and some Muppet-esque humor to foster a kid-tested, parent-approved scene with his Toddlerbilly Takeover monthly events. With free shows running on Mondays from 5 to 7 p.m., Heaton hopes to create a happy hour vibe in which parents can chat and have a drink while the kids boogie down.
“The evening time was very intentional because there are lots of options for parents during the daytime,” he said ahead of the next Once concert March 25. “But if you work, you miss out on a lot of that. (Early evening shows) mean you can come by after work, school, nap time, whatever, and still be in bed at a reasonable hour.”
For those in the local scene who have been complaining about those 10 p.m. start times for shows, maybe it’s time to get behind Heaton, Blakeslee and the Sinclair’s tribute shows. As Millman said: “It really isn’t any different than what I book for our evening shows. Atwood’s is about good food, good beer or apple juice, and good music.”
For more on kid-friendly events, go to atwoodstavern.com, oncesomerville.com and therockandrollplayhouse.com.
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