Concert review: Ralph’s World calls all children to rock at Off Broadway, Sunday, November 14
A 3 p.m. show on a Sunday afternoon at Off Broadway drew a pint-sized crowd of 0-7 year olds and their parents. Families arrived to participate in Ralph’s World, led by veteran, Chicago-based, singer-song writer Ralph Covert and band. Off Broadway transformed from its late night bar feel into a child-friendly establishment with a bright cloth sign behind the stage proclaiming the name of this 4-piece popular children’s band.
Grandfather Stark of KDHX’s Saturday morning show, Musical Merry-Go-Round, introduced Ralph’s World after a lesson for the uninitiated audience in how and when to applaud. As a short person, this was a great show for me because I could see the stage perfectly while sitting in the back (note to self: attend more children’s music shows). Parents and tots sat on the dance floor area near the stage until Ralph quickly got everyone to their feet.
Ralph Covert’s melodic writing style, which some may be familiar with from his work with the Bad Examples, is present within these high-spirited tunes. It should be noted that Ralph was nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for Best Children’s Album. During this show, we hopped like frogs and flew like bats and tip-toed like mice and swam at the bottom of the sea. Ralph sang a song for Beatle Bob who energetically enjoyed the performance. Ralph even dedicated a song about a caterpillar named Bob to Beatle Bob. We wiggled our fingers and reveled in the wonderful energy of Ralph and the bands’ whimsical, lively performance.
Both kids and parents bounced along to the catchy hooks. Ralph invited some of the children on to the stage to share a joke into the microphone, “What do you call a witch who lives on the beach? A sandwich.” One child spoke his joke via the duck puppet attached to his hand. The result was too cute for words.
This would not be the only time for the children to share the spotlight. Ralph spontaneously invited the children back on to the stage with their parents’ cameras and told them that the only rule is, “You must behave obnoxiously by taking ridiculously close pictures of the me and the band members.” The children were more than happy to comply, snapping nose shots and ear shots of the band members.
Not only were the children invited to take the stage, but Ralph invited parents (who were much less eager to volunteer for a moment under the spotlight). Parents assisted Ralph in forming the letters of the alphabet with their bodies, “I call this Dewey Decimal Pilates,” Ralph quipped.
At the conclusion of the hour and a half long show, Ralph and the band brought all of the children back up on the stage to pretend to be band members. Children played air instruments: guitar, drums, bass and rocked the late afternoon into a joyful musical experience to be remembered.