Unlimited Enthusiasm 2008 at Modified Arts

By Sarah Ventre

Better Than: Any other rainy Sunday afternoon with about 100 underage kids.

Ah, summertime! It is a time for remembering one’s youth from endless days of swimming to eating ice-cold watermelon and who can forget summer camp? Certainly not the good folks at Unlimited Enthusiasm, a summer tour featuring Harry and the Potters.

Sunday night Harry and the Potters and some of their musical colleagues brought their “traveling summer camp” to Modified Arts.

See more shots from Unlimited Enthusiasm in our slide show: "Unlimited Enthusiasm featuring Harry and the Potters at Modified Arts."

What makes each night different is the people who show up,” said Harry and the Potters’ Paul DeGeorge,” adding that he hopes their event will be the, “best night of the summer,” and that in ten years, people will remember how much fun they had.

Justine Maimvill of Math the Band added that she hopes it’s so great that it gets launched into outer space, “cause it’s too crowded down here.”

Adding to the summer camp experience were blow up animals, balloons, beach balls, a camp mailbox with postcards to send, Kool-Aid, Pixie Stix, and even s’mores cooked in a microwave.

The evening opened with all of the performers singing a welcoming to the campers, followed by a rousing rendition of a song entitled “MC Dumbledore,” which set the tone for the rest of the evening.

There were wizards in tracksuits.

Uncle Monsterface took the stage next. This band was like an amalgamation of every nerdy thing from the last thirty years rolled into one, and handed in a gift-wrapped box to hipsters in training. They asked the campers if they remembered Sega Genesis and regular Nintendo, and then sang a love song entitled, “I’m Sorry, Your Princess is in Another Castle.” They even performed an original dedicated to and written about Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons.

Mid-set they also stated, “Here at camp, we’re all about participation,” and proceeded to ask if there were any expert lobster players present. The lead singer then gave musical instruction about how to play the inflatable lobsters, in case there was any confusion about the chord progression. “After the chorus, switch to the B flat minor quadrangle.” They told the crowd that they were as much a part of the band as the musicians, and finished out with a rather endearing tune called, “Rock 4 Love.”

Iji (pronounced Ee-hee) and Math the Band kept the crowd moving. Iji, unlike the rest of the crew, did not use any electronic sampling, but rather set up with the bass on the back of the stage, and a keyboard, guitar, and two-piece drum kit up front.

Math the Band next made “dangerous” the word of the day, a la Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Every time they said it, the crowd was instructed to yell, “Boo-yeah!” They sang songs about refusing to get a haircut and the water cycle among other topics. (Imagine a crowd of middle school and high school aged kids, with a few adults thrown in for good measure screaming, “Evaporation! Condensation! Precipitation! That’s the water cycle!”) They also played red light/green light while dancing, and instructed the campers that the dance that goes with their final song was jumping jacks.

Headliners Harry and the Potters were the ones that folks were most geared up to see. People sang along about saving Ginny Weasley and not getting stuck in Hagrid’s beard. About half way through the set, realizing what a great time he and everyone else was having, one of the Potters remarked, “It’s nights like tonight that Voldemort [the villain of the series] just doesn’t get. Voldemort doesn’t understand rock ‘n’ roll.”

One of the Potters even told the crowd that there is an ember of love in everyone’s heart, and the rock through the PA makes it come alive, causing the love to spew out of us and giving everyone a glowing aura. He said that the power of love and the power of rock can take down Voldemort.

Random Detail: Camp name tags were handed out with everyone's name purposefully misspelled. Mine was "Saruhh."

Personal Bias: I've never been to summer camp, but this has got to be the next best thing!

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan McNamara