The Boy Who Jammed: Harry and the Potters
Hot on the heels of the new Harry Potter movie, seminal wizard rock group Harry and the Potters visited the campus last Friday for a night of—dare I say it—magic. Alpha Delta Phi, who hosted the event, began the evening with a screening of The Wizard Rockumentary, a 2008 film documenting the rapid rise of wizard rock (wrock), prominently featuring Harry and the Potters, a.k.a. Paul and Joe DeGeorge.
Immediately following the film there was a Q&A with the band which covered topics from who the band would “kill, fuck, marry” in the HP universe (all Hagrid) to the phenomenon of collegiate Quidditch teams (we agreed collectively that Wes doesn’t have its own team because we would be the equivalent of the Hufflepuff team, which would be lame). Among the most interesting topics covered was the HP Alliance, a charitable organization uniting Harry Potter fans to fight the real Dark Arts—human rights violations and inequality. Their current Deathly Hallows campaign—designed to span the nine month gap between the two installments of the film—is to identify seven horcruxes of the real world and work to destroy them. Their first project is a campaign to pressure Warner Brothers to make all Harry Potter-themed candy fair trade. Harry and the Potters are among the most visible advocates for this group (as if they weren’t awesome enough for being in a band that plays songs about wizards). Another crowd favorite of the Q&A was a reading from Joe’s fan fiction “Hagrid in Space” (it’s even better than it sounds, I’d attempt to find it online if I were you).
Once the session had ended, there was nothing left to do except wait for the show to start. It was well worth it. Believe me, by the time they appeared on stage, accompanied by Young Ollivander (Andrew MacLeay) on drums, the crowd was primed for some songs about the Boy Who Lived. The set was upbeat and energetic, with the band blazing through fan favorites like “Save Ginny Weasley” and “I Am Harry Potter.” Part of what made the energy in the room so magnificent was the degree to which the band involved the crowd: we sang with them, made hand motions with them, and danced with them. The audience was completely engaged in the set the entire time. And. It. Was. Epic. I must say, when two men dressed in British school boy uniforms are in front of you, one rolling on the floor wailing away on guitar, the other manically head banging whilst playing keyboards, and they’re singing songs about Harry Potter, life is pretty goddamn good. I’m not just saying it wasn’t just a fantastic set because I am, admittedly, a huge Harry Potter geek. The music is good, and the band’s vigor made this show one of the best I have ever seen at Wes.
After they had been playing for about forty minutes, P-Safe said the show had to end because the living room was only booked until ten-thirty. It seemed like the night could be over, but the band merely led the crowd out to the green in front of North College, where we circled tightly around a lamppost and jammed to an acoustic encore (P-safe thought our solution was inspired). It was truly one of those “Wesleyan” moments, when you get all those warm fuzzy feelings for your fellow students, the ol’ college life, and the dashing Michael Roth. It’s nice to know that even at our age, when our main concerns generally ping pong between getting our drank on and handing in a twenty page research paper, we can still get ridiculously, absurdly, grandly excited to be in a circle singing about the protagonist of a children’s book series. They closed the night with “The Weapon,” the crowd singing along to the delightfully hopeful lyrics, “The one thing we’ve got is enough to save us all/ and the weapon is love.”
Harry and the Potters, you guys are so cool.