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HARRY AND THE POTTERS
Rock in a hard place

With the publication of The Half-Blood Prince looming, Boston’s Harry and the Potters are well aware that their time is now. Joe and Paul DeGeorge don V-neck sweaters, geek glasses, and ties and perform playfully rudimentary songs inspired by the Potter books and films — songs with titles like "Stick It to Dolores" and "The Foil (Malfoy)." They’re taking the next year off from school to tour libraries, bookstores, and rock clubs: on July 15 they’ll be performing at a Borders bookstore across the street from a Chicago MuggleNet "Spellbound" Harry Potter party that’s expected to draw thousands.

A week ago Wednesday, they kick-tested the library rock scene with a show at the Norwood Public. "Do you guys know about the man?" asked Joe. He was standing underneath a sign that read "Going Places At Your Library," introducing a song in character as Harry Potter Year 4, and explaining to a crowd of children that "the man" is someone "who keeps you from rocking." The Potters then burst into a raucous "Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock!", an indie-rap-rock number that found them running through the audience, shouting the title line, and thrilling the packed suburban crowd: kids in wizard robes and taped-together glasses; their parents; teenagers hanging off the balcony; and teenage girls in homemade Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Weasley shirts. They switched off on vocals: the more-nasal Joe, with his spazzy little-brother energy, sang the angry tunes and played cheesy organ lines while Paul strummed his electric guitar. On some tunes they had a live drummer; others used drum samples.

The duo’s nerd-punk sensibility brings to mind the naive sincerity of Modern Lover Jonathan Richman. But they have their own way of working a crowd: balloons were released overhead as they performed "The Weapon." And afterward, Joe and Paul were swamped with autograph seekers — something it’s clear they’re getting used to.

BY ELISABETH DONNELLY

Issue Date: July 15 - 21, 2005
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