Recently, I was fortunate enough to witness one of my all-time favorite artists perform live for the first time: the legendary Roky Erickson. I was hooked ever since junior high when I heard a cover of his immortal “You Don’t Love Me Yet” and then sought out the original… tracing his music from his vivid, startling solo work to his original ‘60′s band The 13th Floor Elevators, whose full-length “Easter Everywhere” stands in my estimation as one of the best psychedelic rock records ever.
Anyone who has seen the documentary “You’re Gonna Miss Me’” knows it is a miracle the man is still alive, let alone mounting an improbable comeback by recording a new album and touring with backing band Okkervil River. Before the show, I found myself a bundle of nerves at the thought of finally seeing my hero perform in the flesh. And although I narrowly avoided crapping my pants with anxiety and anticipation, many others in the audience may have. Literally.
You see, this was an audience made up of babies, toddlers and children of all ages. The Roky Erickson & Okkervil River concert (and ice cream party!!!) was hosted by The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts and was intended for children, with the requisite that all adults must be accompanied by a kid. So along with my 9-month old son, wife and mom, we were treated to one of the more memorable concerts I have ever seen.
Roky was in top form… seeming like some kind of grizzled Santa Claus surrounded by all these eager kids… plowing through such classics as “I Walked With a Zombie” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. Everyone went bananas. The show was followed by a Q&A where children could ask Roky questions (samples: “how does your drummer drum so fast?” and “where does your drummer get his drumsticks?”). Impossible not to have a good time.
To learn more about The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, go to www.centerartseaglerock.org.