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Thursday, April 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist


The Apologists, German Art Students and the Shrunken Heads deliver a Lowellpalooza

The German Art Students peform before a youthful crowd at the Harmony Bar.
Credit:Kiki Schueler
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The German Art Students may have found themselves a new demographic. The middle band of a fundraiser for Lowell school Sunday at the Harmony Bar, the local punk humorists packed the dance floor with a crowd they're not used to, the six and under crowd.

Even though they didn't pay to get in and some had to leave before the end of the past-their-bedtime set, the kids went nuts over GAS's ridiculously catchy songs and high energy stage show. (Admittedly, it may also have been the 16 oz. bottles of Sprecher root beer many of them were slugging.)

It really shouldn't have surprised anyone. "No Peekee," with its chorus of "You wear it where where under... I don't want to know what's under there," is basically the song equivalent of the kids' "made you say underwear" joke. Only drummer Randy Ballwahn's son seemed to catch on to the dance craze "The Bumblebee," but the rest of the crowd improvised their own dance moves. Even set closer, the hilarious "Steve Vai Boyfriend," saw them still dancing with as much energy as singer/guitarist Annelies Howell.

Kids didn't seem quite as sure about what to do earlier during the Shrunken Heads set. A band made up of Brendan Manley (drums), along with Mitch and Wilder Deitz (guitar and bass), they played a set of mostly original punk rock for an awed crowd of their peers and parents. The first two are currently Lowell school students while Wilder is a graduate. Some covers, Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Hendrix's "Voodoo Child," hinted at their influences, but another was purely a result of genetics -- a song by Ritt Deitz (father of two-thirds of the band).

Despite a few technical problems, they pulled off a remarkably mature set. Their wild-maned leader explained that a protest song they had written was in response to a news article he had read about how "N. Korea wages war on long hair," adding "I just can't stand for that."

Closers the Apologists nearly had their set stolen by band member Marty Mulhern's daughter Fiona. Composed and confident, she sang the traditional "The Cuckoo" near the beginning of their set. When she reprised her performance later, they decided that was a good place to end because "we can't possibly top that." It was a perfect ending to an evening that had been all about the kids, and a very successful one at that.

Kiki Schueler also publishes Kiki's Magical Music Reviews.

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