Closeted Harry Potter fans can come out for one night when Harry and the Potters and other “wizard rock” bands come to Philadelphia.
The brother duo from Massachusetts is hosting a “Yule Ball” in Philadelphia for the first time on Dec. 2 at the Starlight Ballroom. Paul and Joe DeGeorge promised that the show, named after the prom-like event from the J.K. Rowling series, will be worthwhile, whether you are a fan or not.
“We want to appeal to younger kids without alienating older kids,” Paul, 27, said.
“We want them to start listening when they’re 12 so by the time they’re 18, they’ll get the jokes in our lyrics.”
Potterdelphia, a group dedicated to the famed wizard, is acting as the prom committee by providing wizard decorations, food and drink, and they are asking those who come to dress like wizards – gowns and all.
Andrea Piernock Barrish, “head girl” of Potterdelphia, said that she thought the turnout for the event will only be 150, but now she believes that about 700 will attend. She has also received e-mails from fans in bordering states that are planning to come.
“As much as I listen to their CDs, they are much better live,” Barrish said. “They have energy that doesn’t come across in recorded music.”
With a sound reminiscent of early Weezer, the DeGeorges sing songs through the perspective of Harry. Both provide vocals, play guitar and other instruments.
Fun and humorous lyrics are found in songs like “Stick It To Dolores,” which poke fun of Harry’s observations of Hogwarts’ new unpopular professor.
The attention paid to detail doesn’t stop there.
During shows they don the round-rimmed glasses and gold-and-maroon striped necktie and scarf. They even stay in character as Harry when they banter with the audience.
And for those of you who wonder how there can be two Harry’s, it is simple. Paul is Harry from book seven (yet to be released) and Joe, 19, is Harry from book four.
Laugh if you will, but they have produced and distributed four albums, toured the United States and United Kingdom, and started a music genre that is inspired by Rowling’s tomes.
In fact, when they were here in August, about 500 fans packed into First Unitarian Church on Chestnut Street.
“It was a wild show,” said Paul.
“Definitely one of the best cities we’ve played at.”
However, their mission is not to be serious rock stars, but to promote literacy. Proceeds from concessions and some from admissions to the Yule Ball will go to the First Book Chapter in Philadelphia, a nonprofit that gives books to children from low-income families.
This time around, they are bringing a lot of friends.
One is a band named after Harry’s arch-nemesis at Hogwarts, Draco and the Malfoys.
Another brother duo, Brian Ross, 31, and Bradely Mehleneacher, 28, began the group as a joke to their friends last fall.
“It’s really fun to write from the bad guy’s perspective,” Ross said.
“Neither of us are bad guys, but when you write songs from that perspective it’s really a ball.”
One of his proudest lyrics is for the song “My Dad is Rich,” a song about how the privileged Draco makes fun of Harry, an orphan.
The duo from Rhode Island is a perfect example of how popular the wizard rock genre is. After Paul asked Ross to open last year’s Yule Ball, he agreed and immediately went to work, writing “My Dad is Rich” that night and started a Myspace.com music page. Within a week, he said the band gained 3,000 friends.
Also on the bill for the Yule Ball are The Hungarian Horntails with a 7-year-old rocker, The Whomping Willows and Uncle Monsterface.
If the Yule Ball is not enough for you, Potterdelphia is also hosting a dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse, at 1026 Spring Garden St., at 2 p.m. that day.
For $15, you get dinner and a private performance by another band, Lightning Bolt Scar from Malvern, Pa.
“It’s going to be wild,” Paul said. “Whenever we play anywhere, especially at colleges, we are flabbergasted at who shows up.”
Go to potterdelphia.com to reserve your tickets before Dec. 1. The Dec. 5 Yule Ball will begin at 5 p.m. at the Starlight Ballroom on 460 N. 9th St.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at r5productions.com or by calling 1-866-468-7619.
Diana Huynh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.