Snow Ball 2012 – They Said It Wouldn’t Last

Post-Potter, wrock keeps going and going and going…

Report by Elizabeth Amisu (www.elizabethamisu.com)

imageThe Debating Hall, Teviot Row, Edinburgh, Scotland: the true birthplace of Harry Potter. The sun is shining like a golden snitch.

We definitely passed all of our O.W.Ls in 2010 with a blazing hot night at ‘The Lot’, followed by a smouldering ‘Library’ showcase which debuted The Pumpkin Pasties but there have been a few patchy moments in the last two years…

Members of the wrock world have been coping through bereavements which were focused on touchingly during the show and this highlighted the real-world/fantasy line that the Harry Potter Fandom and Wizard Rock movement spans. When do fighting ennui and fighting Dementors become two different things? In the words of Dumbledore, ‘just because it’s happening in your head, why should that make it any less real?’

After a two-year hiatus it was time to see if we really could still throw down moves the size of Madame Maxime, tear down the house like Kreacher and bring wrock harder than the Weird Sisters at a Yule Ball.

Mad wizarding vibrations speed through the hundreds who pack the Debating Hall, transforming it, through the power of magic into the Great Hall. Hosting the biggest gathering of wizards for a wrock show in the United Kingdom ever is a feat that has to be seen to be believed.

The show kicks off with an early set from The Pumpkin Pasties, playing songs from her debut EP, Magic With Them By My Side. Sylvia performs a variety show of wrock, rap and soul, tied up with an acoustic guitar. We didn’t get to ask her whether Merlin himself charmed her to rhyme Knox with socks. She sings that ‘even Privett Drive is magic with them by my side’, waxes lyrical of a love-fest between Basilisk and Aaragog, summing up on a matter-of-fact tune about the epic confusion of having 142 staircases in your magical school.

Now we’re cooking with gas.

Amy Snow of Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons commands the crowd to get of up and dance. We do not need to be told twice as she rips through a solid gold set of humorous and dolorous tunes, her hands deft over the keys of her piano.

Since 2010’s Cork Musical Festival’s Wizard Rock Show in Ireland, which she orchestrated like a total badass, her rock repertoire has only grown in depth and feeling. Her haunting lyrics: ‘The snow is burying this town… and the snow won’t drown the sound of each step – step your foot makes, going down to the graveyard, going home.’ Godric’s Hollow is Lady Sings the Wizard Rock Blues and showcases her stunning voice.

Seasoned pros of the wrock season, Siriusly Hazza P burst onto the stage, filling it with life, light and most importantly 50s glamour and magic. Bass guitarist Cathrin and pianist Laura form an enticing duo, switching from bang-up dance routines and songs about werewolves to searing solos.

Their new EP, Siriusly Hazza P and Their Magical Menagerie, is a Whomping Willows-esque, Magical Creature Manifesto that Hedwig, Buckbeak and Trevor the Toad would be proud of. Is there nothing these gorgeous two can’t do?

The biggest surprise of the night is a performance by one half of Draco and the Malfoys. Brian’s brand of wrock is a sought-after vintage, matured by the six years since Party Like You’re Evil and the nine years since their eponymous first record. It is a pleasure to see him perform.

The opening acts have stupefied us. A horde of Hogwarts seventh-going-on-fourteenth years in robes descend upon the Goodnight Boutique bench to clear out the jewellery, with its crests and arty book covers. Traditionally, this is the time dreaded Wrock Syndrome strikes. Slytherins band together in a tight corner and gentle Hufflepuffs zone-out, while Ravenclaws peruse the strands, buying raffle tickets. Where are the Gryffindors? They’ve all gone to the bar for firewhisky.

But this cannot deter Joe and Paul DeGeorge from their Hallows­-esque mission to play every wizard rock gig in the world! Now onto the main event: Harry and the Potters, the band which ‘started it all’ who are now intent on finishing it too.

They stuff 28 songs into their meagre hour-plus set, cutting between “Fun Checks!” and anecdotes from a life in seven books (or eight films). They are influenced by the punk rock stylings of 80s DIY bands and a thousand shows later, are sharp as the sword of Gryffindor. This band is not for the casual wizard rocker, you’ve got to suffer for their (dark) arts.

If your head is not hitting the ceiling, then it’s a bad Quidditch lesson for you and you’re flat on your tush at the back of the room. It’s not all Shrieking Shack Screams though, the crowd smashes into each other with all the love in the world as the Wizard Rock Anthem sears: “The Weapon We Have Is Love!”

FUN CHECK! Joe DeGeorge screams, wrapping about mile of mic extension cable around his head. Who needs to check? Final exams are over and the 2012 Snow Ball ‘Exceeds Expectations.’

There’s nothing ‘Nastily Exhausting’ about it. Every wizard passes, and the third Snow Ball graduates with flying colours. Founder, Neil Bird’s boundless determination has created a Wrock Festival wizard rock enthusiasts in the UK can be proud of. He is without a doubt, the Dumbledore to our Army.

‘Harry and the Potters’ Setlist

Yule Ball
I am a Wizard
Platform 9 and ¾
Wizard Chess
The Economics of the Wizarding World Don’t Make Sense
Save Ginny Weasley
Hey Cat Lady
Accio Hagrid
SPEW
The Firebolt
Dudley
Keeping Secrets From Me
Accio Hagrid
Human Hosepipe
Stick it to Dolores 
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
This Book is so Awesome
Phoenix Tears
Accio Hagrid
Smooch Smoochy Pukey Pukey
Felix Felicis
Save Ginny Weasley From Dean Thomas
Never Going to the Bathroom Again
Accio Hagrid
Dumbledore
The Weapon 
Harry Potter

Elizabeth Amisu is a writer, reviewer of film and fiction, and a lecturer in Film and English. She is the author of The Sacerdos Mysteries. Her third novel, Waterblood, will be released on Kindle in April.  www.elizabethamisu.com

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