Monday, November 12 , 2018, 5:47 pm | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Jeff Moehlis: Harry Potter Visits Isla Vista

Potter Puppet Pals and the band Harry and the Potters thrill witches, wizards and muggles of all ages

Witches, wizards and muggles of all ages gathered last Tuesday night at Biko Garage in Isla Vista to pay tribute to the boy who lived — Harry Potter.

The evening kicked off with a cool opening set by Santa Barbara muggle band Haggard, who describe their fusion of ska-punk and grunge as “skunge.”

Next up was the Potter Puppet Pals, a viral sensation both in the muggle and the wizarding worlds. As the crowd sat cozily on the floor, and with accompanying taped music, puppet appearances were made by Harry Potter and his friends — both of them — Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, plus Hagrid, Professor Dumbledore (with and without his robe), Severus Snape and He Who Shall Not Be Named himself, Lord Voldemort.

Of course, the puppet skits included a “live” performance of “The Mysterious Ticking Noise,” which is rapidly approaching 130 million views on YouTube. “Snape, Snape, Severus Snape ... Dumbaldore!”

Overall, the show had the feel of a modern-day Punch and Judy performance, including a crowd response that can best be described as respectfully rowdy.

Last on the program was the band Harry and the Potters, with Harry Potter from Year 7 on vocals and guitar, and, thanks to a time turner, Harry Potter from Year 4 on vocals and keyboards. (To avoid attention from Death Eaters, they were cleverly disguised as brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge.)

Harry and the Potters started off with the question, “Is there anybody here who likes magic?” With a firm affirmative from the crowd, they launched into punk pop songs about all things Potter.

Song topics ranged from getting to Hogwarts (“Platform 9 and 3/4”), to saving a friend from a basilisk (“Save Ginny Weasley”), to toad-like Ministry of Magic types (“Stick It to Dolores,” Umbridge that is), to mistakes involving cat fur (“Hermione Screws Up the Polyjuice Potion”), to potion textbooks with helpful notes in the margins (“This Book Is So Awesome”).

A highlight was the social activism song “S.P.E.W.,” which stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, and included shouted spews from selected audience members. There was also a tribute to the power of love (“The Weapon”), which, of course, saved Harry Potter’s life.

Mixed in several times was the catchy ode to everybody’s favorite half-giant with the lyrics “Hagrid is fun to hug / Hagrid is full of love / Just don’t get stuck in Hagrid’s beard / Ahhh!”

An encore pushed close to the 10 p.m. noise curfew — maybe a Muffliato charm would have been helpful here? — with a joyful extended tribute to Luna Lovegood sung to the tune of “Louie, Louie”: “Luna, Luna / Oh yeah / Luna Lovegood / Yeah yeah yeah yeah.”

I think that even Snape would agree, this was almost as fun as watching a quidditch match.

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

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