DVD Review: Field Trips with Recess Monkey

FieldTripsLowRes.jpg The advantage of Field Trips with Recess Monkey, the first DVD from Seattle's Recess Monkey, is that it does a good job of conveying the band's essential nature, that of kids music's funniest band. This is not to say they're "ha ha Weird Al" funny (usually), more that their joy and sense of humor is way up front, part and parcel of all they do. (For example, the band continues to put on their materials, "Unauthorized duplication or other use prohibited by law and by Mayor Monkey, our hand puppet band manager.")

The DVD consists of 4 episodes, each roughly 23 minutes in length, containing some combination of videos (the band consistently makes good cheap but good-looking and effective videos), concert footage, field trips, and natterings from Mayor Monkey. (I have been on the record with my adoration for MayMo. "Natterings" is a term of love.) If you had to watch all the field trips (to Seattle institutions like Pike Place Market or the Fremont Bridge) in a row, it would make for dull viewing (as would the concert video), but all mixed together, it's a reasonably entertaining sequence. I particularly enjoyed the trip to illustrator Matt Hawk's studio (he did the art for Field Trip) and the "Yellow Trike Races." In all the segments, you can tell the band's having fun, joking around, sometimes for the kids' benefit, and occasionally for the parents'.

This video will be of most interest to kids ages 3 through 7. You can purchase the video at Amazon and see assorted clips (the videos and concert stuff) at the band's YouTube channel. Hopefully the fact that the band's continuing to produce videos means that this isn't the last set of episodes.

I can't expect that many readers of this review aren't familiar with Recess Monkey. If you're not familiar with the band, Field Trips with Recess Monkey is a decent introduction to the band's killer songwriting and sense of humor. And if you are familiar with the band, then you'll appreciate the whole package here. Even (and especially) Mayor Monkey. Recommended.