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VOL. 124 | NO. 239 | Monday, December 7, 2009

Rock-n-Romp Moves Indoors for Special Christmas Celebration

By JONATHAN DEVIN | Special to The Memphis News

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CHRISTMASTIME ROCK: Memphis bands the Bulletproof Vests (top), Snowglobe (bottom) and Whose Army will perform Rock-n-Romp’s first Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 5 at 409 S. Main St. -- PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BULLETPROOF VESTS AND SNOWGLOBE

They won’t be playing classics such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” but a group of local family-friendly rock bands has plans to add a seasonal twist to a live music show.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., Rock-n-Romp, a group of young parents who enjoy concerts, will stage its first planned indoor concert as well as its first with a holiday theme.

“Just because people have children, doesn’t mean that they stop loving live music,” explained Marvin Stockwell, a Rock-n-Romp board member. “But it becomes increasingly difficult to get out to the Hi-Tone or Minglewood Hall or Young Avenue Deli or wherever when you have kids who need to brush their teeth and get to bed.”

The Memphis Rock-n-Romp, founded by Stacey Greenberg, a mother of two, got started by hosting concerts in members’ backyards until they became so popular it was necessary to consider more public venues.

“This has been the breakout year for Rock-n-Romp to get through to the larger Memphis conscious,” Stockwell said. “Our smallest show this year was about 250 people. Our largest was upwards of 800 at the Levitt Shell. They’re growing such that it’s increasingly hard to find backyards to put it in.”

The Christmas concert will take place at 409 S. Main St., the loft formerly occupied by artist and gallery owner, Jay Etkin. The event serves as an official pre-event of the Center City Commission’s Downtown Holiday Parade, which steps off just as the concert ends at 5 p.m.

On the program are Snowglobe, the Bulletproof Vests and the teen band Whose Army.

“We’ll play a couple Christmas songs and we like to try to do the Peanuts’ Christmas theme song,” said Jeff Hulett, Snowglobe’s drummer. “There’s so much stimulation at Rock-n-Romp. In a way (the band) is almost like background music at times. That’s fine with me. It’s fun, there’s no pressure.”

Greenberg said that moving indoors raised a few new questions for the group about how to manage cleaning up afterwards, but said she expects the concert to have the same atmosphere as their outdoor concerts.

“We talked about having hot cider and how much fun that would be,” Greenberg said. “Then we let it sink in. It’s much easier to clean up an outdoor venue than an indoor venue.”

Adult admission is $5, but children are free and adults must be accompanied by a child. Beer is provided for the parents, and milk, juice and snacks are available for children. Food also will be provided by the Majestic Grill, Blue Fin and Whole Foods.

Parents are encouraged to bring gently used winter coats for kids and adults, which will be distributed to local nonprofit organizations.

Kate Crowder of the band Two Way Radio also will be on hand to lead children’s activities, including the creation of snowglobes.

Whose Army, fronted by Alyssa Moore on bass and vocals, is one of a series of teenage bands Rock-n-Romp has made special efforts to include in their shows.

“It’s a new theme,” Greenberg said. “We’re trying to have a teenage band at every show now. Kids sometimes get older and think they’re too old for rock ’n’ roll, but if you have a teen band, they might know someone in it.”

Parents can sign up for Rock-n-Romp’s e-mail list at www.memphisrocknromp.blogspot.com.

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