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April 4, 2006

Harry and the Potters demonstrate their rock wizardry at Ida Noyes

With stage antics that would put Iggy Pop to shame, Harry and the Potters rocked Ida Noyes Wednesday night in front of a near-capacity crowd. Norwood, Massachusetts–based brothers and “Wizard rock,” genre pioneers Joe and Paul DeGeorge delivered an hour-plus set of songs inspired by the bestselling books. The third floor of Ida Noyes may not have the luster of, say, Mandel Hall, but for a group that’s risen to prominence through gigs at bookstores and libraries, the small-time setting was more than enough for the wizards to work their magic.

The band formed in 2002 as a gametime addition to a backyard concert after a number of bands canceled. Their performance that day inspired Joe and Paul to take their show on the road, and since that summer, the brothers have toured the U.K., the Netherlands, and several haunts in the U.S. in a van called “The Pottermobile.” Along the way, the band sold T-shirts and CD and did their best to keep audiences—often comprised largely the same pre-teen demographic as a Hanson concert—energized and on their feet.

Students who attended the show in hopes of catching a glimpse of the next generation of musical prodigies came away disappointed. While the Potters’ work occasionally includes a number of different styles—notably the angry, Sex Pistols-esque punk of “Keeping Secrets from Me”—most of the songs follow the same basic structure. They begin with a catchy (if somewhat cheesy) piano melody or drum machine beat before adding the guitar and chorus. On a CD—the Potters have three—such a style can seem repetitive and unimaginative, but the duo brings an energy to each live performance that is unmatched by any in the Muggle world.

The Potters wasted no time getting the crowd involved, beginning the show with one of their more popular songs, “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock.” Within minutes, the younger DeGeorge left his keyboard to jump into the crowd, singing and dancing wildly as the assembled audience, ages ranging from middle school to middle-aged, eyed the scene dumbstruck. In no time, the brothers DeGeorge won over the crowd through their in-song antics and steadfast adherence to their characters.

The brothers spent much of the night juking and jerking as if under a Cruciatus curse. At one point, Joe dove headfirst to the floor at the edge of the stage, belting out lyrics to the delight of the assembled faithful. During “S.P.E.W.,” the group’s tribute to Hermione’s aptly titled citizen action group, audience members were prompted to yell “spew” when the microphone was stuck in their faces. Hilarity ensued. In the final song, “The Weapon,” Paul grabbed a megaphone and used it as a microphone, leading the crowd in the final chorus about how only love can conquer the Dark Lord.

Sure, most Harry and the Potters songs sound the same, but couldn’t you the say the same thing about the Strokes? For less than the price of a bottle of Naked Juice at Bart Mart, Harry and the Potters were more than worth the price of admission.