like Alison on Facebook! follow Alison on Twitter!

SF Chronicle: Winter Wonderland Kids Series gets family rocking

March 27, 2012 - 4:48pm -- admin

Two mom rockers are bringing their bands to Berkeley's Starry Plough on Sunday for the under-4-foot dance crowd.

Alison Faith Levy has put together a three-part series at the Plough, that runs through March. Levy spent five heady years in the Sippy Cups, described as a psychedelic kids rock band. (Their "I Wanna Be Elated" is a take on the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated.")

"We just exploded, touring all over the country, performing at arts centers. It was very exciting," Levy said of those years. "But we all had kids at home. The tour schedule was intense." The group hasn't disbanded, but "we're all taking a nap," Levy said.

She got into music for adults, with an album out. "Then I just missed playing for the kids so much. So I put together this little band, Big Time Tot Rock." She worked with the Starry Plough to start offering kids' shows.

Her new hit is a rewrite of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider." The original is "so short," she said. "So I added five verses with other animals, and recorded it with this Phil Spector-Wall of Sound style." She has another new song about the baby anteater at the San Francisco Zoo. And, she said, she always does a few Sippy Cups classics when she performs.

Following Levy's act is the group Charity and the JAMband. Although Charity and the JAMband plays to the same age group, it's something different, Levy says.

"Charity's stuff is very physical. They teach the kids a lot of dance movements. Mine's a little more indie rock, with songs about animals and science-y stuff."

Charity Kahn, mother of two, says she played folk and rock at the Starry Plough back in her 20s. "How fun to be going back there in this context," Kahn said.

The band will be performing some of their most popular tunes, "Peanut Butter & Jam," "Happy Fluffy," "Rockstar," "Get Your Booty Out of Bed," and "Amazing Rocket Ship," most of which can be seen on YouTube. They have the sort of funky sound that adults will happily bop to, and not even notice it's "kids' music" until they listen to the lyrics.

At the Starry Plough, parents can either join the dancing, or sit back with a beer and a burger or pizza, Levy said. But if you want a table, she said, come on the early side. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.

Can't make the show this weekend? Levy will be back at the Starry Plough on March 25 with other guests, and she has an album for kids, "World of Wonder," coming out in April. Charity and the JAMband play a summer series (once a month, Sundays) at the Park Chalet in Golden Gate Park, starting April 8. Their album, "Love Is Here," comes out in August.


3:30 p.m. Sun. $5-$8 (babes in arms free). The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. (510) 841-2082.

Mary Flaherty is a freelance writer. [email protected]

Mary Flaherty
Publish Date: 
Thursday, February 23, 2012