When wizard rock band Harry and the Potters bounded out onto the stage in front of the Brooklyn Public Library Saturday afternoon, dressed in their prep-school uniforms, and asked their audience of mostly teen- and tween-agers (and their parents) to join them in the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, you might have been forgiven for thinking that you had stumbled into some kind of school assembly. But as fiery Joe DeGeorge got increasingly worked up about the specifics of his pledge – to rock out, to fight evil, and to use the magic power of dancing to make this a great show – and as the crowd chanted back every word, you might have become more convinced that you were at church.
It's that religious passion for all things Potter that's given a band that started as a joke shared by two teenage brothers (Joe and his brother Paul) in 2002 — a band in which every song is based on J.K. Rowling’s novels – a certain kind of stardom. To be blunt, it probably isn’t the music.
While the DeGeorges' songs are catchy in a lo-fi sort of way, sonic innovation falls somewhere behind jumping, hand claps, and dancing on the duo’s list of priorities. But who cares? Even when they sang (and air-drummed!) to prerecorded music on the occasional song, the audience was singing along, enjoying every off-key minute of it — though it’s doubtful they even noticed the Huey Lewis and Bill & Ted references the band made.
In the end, the show wasn't about Harry Potter as much as it was about celebrating a certain kind of bookish cool, saluting the young nerds who now drive the culture; in the band's final song, “Weapons,” Harry and the Potters asked the audience to yell out the things that we all have inside us to combat evil. "Love!" Joe DeGeorge shouted, with the audience chanting along. "Music! Energy! Adenosine triphosphate! The citric acid cycle!" Maybe this was school after all. —Ehren Gresehover