By Chris Bavender
Kids can enjoy high energy, family friendly rock ‘n’ roll when Kid Kazooey & the BallRoom Roustabouts hit the stage Sept. 14 at the Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Peanut Butter & Jam series. It’s the second time the Bloomington-based group will perform at the center.
“The BallRoom Roustabouts play rock ‘n’ roll/pop music not unlike They Might Be Giants or NRBQ or the Violent Femmes, but at low volumes and with thematic material that matches our mission statement and is always all-ages appropriate,” said Kevin MacDowell, aka Kid Kazooey. “We play mostly original music, with a few choice cover tunes thrown in. Like the golden years of Sesame Street, we play first for children’s enjoyment, and then aim strategically just over their heads to let their parents know we haven’t forgotten about them.”
The BallRoom Roustabouts formed when MacDowell, who had recently graduated from Indiana University and was waiting tables at restaurants in Bloomington while trying to get a foot in the door as a librarian, met a “creative and talented” musician who cooked at one of the restaurants. They had a vision to create a dance band and play “songs of the seas” for college kids who enjoyed rowdy, acoustic music.
“We quickly discovered college kids were not interested in pirate music, but my library degree with a specialization in children’s services reminded me that little kids loved pirate picture books,” MacDowell said. “So, we booked ourselves in the Border’s bookstore’s children’s department to share these songs and included some out loud reading from their children’s collection.
“We experienced immediate success, and while it cost me a few band members who had no intention of being in a ‘kids band,’ I was gracefully allowed to keep the band name with a passion and intention to play silly, rowdy music for families with kids.”
The group plays venues ranging from outdoor parks and recreation shows, public libraries and family friendly festivals to a car dealership’s annual Christmas party.
“We are a highly interactive band, finding many ways to bridge the gap between the stage and the audience,” MacDowell said. “And,as indicated before, we seek to engage all ages, from age 7 to 70, so reactions are joyful and multi-generational.”
Tickets for the 10:30 a.m. show are $10 per child, with two free adult admissions included. For more, visit thecenterpresents.org/.