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When the idea of a kids-focused concert runs through my head, the first image that pops up is the Wiggles. If that’s not your thing, then check out a Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players show. You’ll hear a guitar, drums, keyboard, bass, and storytelling songs that ring familiar to the Barenaked Ladies. The result? A concert that kids and parents can love.
Frontman Justin Roberts has flourished in a genre of kids’ music with songs about experiences that kids are living first-hand and parents have fond memories of. “To be satisfied as a songwriter, you have to take a kids topic with an adult perspective: first day of school, getting a cast, when babies are born,” says Roberts. The band’s newest album, Grammy-nominated Recess, is filled with pop-rock songs about hopscotch, a secret robot, and, of course, recess. Tucked at the end of the record is a keyboard- and strings-driven ballad, Red Bird, which is filled with soulful life observations Roberts says “could be a love song from a parent to a child.”
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Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players are coming to Colorado for three concerts—geared toward ages two through nine—that are certain to turn into mini-dance fests. Roberts says that one of his favorite songs to play live is the title track to the new album, Recess. He asks the kids, and their grown-ups too, to imagine a world where recess didn’t exist. When all the tykes start to get in an uproar, Roberts declares that singing with him will help fight this injustice. With tiny fists pumping in the air, Roberts says it resembles nothing short of “an ’80s rock video.”
After playing hundreds of shows, this former pre-school teacher advises parents to get out of their assigned seats and dance with their little ones. “The best is when parents are with their kids and get a little silly.” Roberts says. “Sometimes it is in our culture to send the kids up to the stage by themselves, but that’s kind of like putting them in front of the TV.” So, parents take note: Shake loose. You’ll connect with you kids and forget about the dirty dishes, unpacked lunches, and dirty clothes at home.
Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players are playing three shows this weekend:
—Image courtesy of the Justin Roberts