On Saturday, what felt like half a million children gathered at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Sprung for the Woodstock of kid-centric music shows, Rock-n-Romp. The joint was literally crawling with rug rats and their parents, out for an afternoon of music and bar food.
In addition to sippy cups and buffalo wings, wee ones were treated to three bands, Lemonface, Middle Distance Runner, and Soft Complex. If that wasn’t enough diversion, RnR founder Debbie Lee provided a plethora of inflatatable “air guitars,” many of which were put to use as swords, and tables were set up with markers, stickers, and guitar-shaped paper. Like an ear infection through a day-care center, Lee’s toddleriffic happening has now spread to three cities, Austin, Baltimore, and Memphis.
Lemonface, whose members are still in high school, made no apparent concessions for the event, rocking the diapers off the crowd.
Middle Distance Runner adjusted the volume down and appealed to the kids by opening with their clapping song, “Naturally.” MDR’s Stephen Kilroy discussed the appeal of hand-claps to adult audiences in this One Track Mind. After the enthusiastic reception Saturday, bass player Ian Glinka gushed, “It works for kids, too!”
By the time Soft Complex took the stage, the audience’s shyness had largely disappeared and the bandmembers found themselves sharing the stage with people hardly as tall as their amps.
While the grown-ups seemed happy just to be out of the house, and no time-outs were witnessed, not everyone was thrilled about the play date. Said one frustrated bartender trying to navigate to a serving station, “Is there possibly a better place to stand and play with your kids than right here?!”