If Kindiefest's Saturday night showcase was about introducing new(-ish) names (and one longtime favorite) to a new crowd, the Sunday afternoon public concert was more about a lineup guaranteed to draw in, you know, the public.
There was indeed a nice crowd, both of conference attendees as well as local families. (It's not a coincidence that the conference is held in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, famous (and perhaps occasionally reviled) for the sheer number of families who live around there. And unlike the showcase, with its brief 20-minute sets that may subconciously lead artists to forgo contemplation for excitement, the public concert, with 30-minute sets, and a more passive audience, allows for more variation in styles.
For example, the concert kicked off with a set from Oran Etkin, who tells stories (either more traditional stories or about the instruments themselves) via jazz. He was very engaging with his young audience. Most of his songs are originals, but here he is with a take on a piece Dizzy Gillespie made famous...
Oran Etkin - "Salt Peanuts" [YouTube]
Next up was the delightful Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band. The Brooklyn iteration of the band included Phillippa Thompson (who sometimes plays with Elizabeth Mitchell) and multi-instrumentalist Dean Jones. The set was similar to the one she played here in Phoenix in January, but the more enclosed nature of the performance here led to something occasionally hushed. I spoke with Elizabeth Mitchell a little bit later and she, too, enjoyed it...
Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band - "When You Get Old" [YouTube]
And that was just two down...
Next up was Aaron Nigel Smith. Smith was an artist who I've always felt was fine on record but who held no special interest to me. But his was a performance that reminded me -- I need continual reminding -- about the difference between recordings and live shows and how it's possible to hold different opinions about each. It was lots of fun, in part due to the chorus of kids he brought in to perform a few songs with him (as soon as I saw the kids walking backstage during Swedberg's set I knew we'd be in for a treat), but even more so due to his energy on stage, which even carried over to him being in the audience enjoying other artists' sets.
Aaron Nigel Smith - "Che Che Cole" [YouTube]
I missed the last part of Smith's set as well as the first part of Tim and the Space Cadets' set . The first rule of Kindiefest is that it's impossible to do everything you want to do at Kindiefest -- talk, learn, eat, listen, whatever. In any case, I am glad I caught the last three songs or so of the set. Tim Kubart wins the award for most energetic dancer/participant, Musician Division, at Kindiefest 2011, as he really got into others' performances throughout the weekend. There is a giddiness to his performing as well that serves him and his music well. They've already played Kidzapalooza, but I think their new album is going to bring them a lot more attention...
Tim and the Space Cadets - "Superhero" [YouTube]
Ah, Elizabeth Mitchell, how I do so enjoy your music. I saw her perform at Austin City Limits Festival last fall, and while those were fun sets, I think her music is best enjoyed in a setting without many distractions (or bizarre feedback from adjoining stages). The musicians off to the side were definitely engaged with Mitchell, singing along and doing the hand motions for a few songs. She brought in Heidi Swedberg and Dean Jones to sing "Shoo Lie Loo" and all in all, I felt like I'd now finally seen a true "Elizabeth Mitchell concert."
Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower "Little Liza Jane" [YouTube]
Hi, The Verve Pipe! Or, rather, bye, the Verve Pipe! I would have gladly stayed to see them perform, but I saw them twice at ACL last fall and, more importantly, the show was running slightly behind schedule and I had a train to JFK to catch. So I bid adieu to Littlefield. But here's another clip of the band performing a song with the guys from Recess Monkey a song not off their A Family Album disk.
The Verve Pipe (w/ Recess Monkey) - "You Can Write a Song" [YouTube]