Don’t forget to check out our day five video recap!
Day five of Outside The Box was all about the kids, and it started in one of the best ways possible – with Daytime Emmy Award winner Imagination Movers! Kids and their parents filled the lawn at the Beacon Stage to check out the super-popular group, whose music and comedy show on Disney Junior is now in its fourth season.
The Movers opened with the title track from their new CD Rock-O-Matic, continuing the party with “Shakeable You.” And party it was – the Movers got the crowd jumping immediately and seriously rocked the Common – at noon on a Wednesday, no less. Even adults could enjoy the show, since The Movers’ music is a mash of influences: a Beastie Boys sample here, an old punk riff there.
Not ready to rock out yet? At the Park Street Stage, the Boston Opera Collaborative, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for emerging artists, eased onlookers into the day with their dulcet tones.
But the mellow-ness didn’t last long – the Airborne Comedians took the stage right after, wowing a newly gathered family crowd with their juggling skill involving what some might consider “non-jugglable” objects, all while perched atop unicycles.
At the Spiegeltent, Daniel Forlano performed his physical comedy in the tradition of great clowns, balancing stacks of books, tossing pillows into the audience, and causing one child to exclaim, “He’s the silliest man I’ve ever seen!”
The family fun continued with Mystic Paper Beasts at the Lily Pad, who told a series of Native American stories called “Sky Tales.” They got the kids involved, too – asking them to make sounds that related to the tales, like wolves howling, tigers roaring, and dogs barking, explaining that the stories are in everyone, and we can all connect through them.
If you left the kids at home or were just taking a lunch break, Boston’s Velveteen Playboys entertained with their horn-heavy combination of swing, jazz, and pop. They played tunes from their new album Shakin’ Not Stirred, including their favorite “Over and Over.” We had to admire singer Paul Souza, a throwback to classic Vegas crooners like Tom Jones, dressed in his suit and tie in the afternoon heat. We could imagine ourselves dancing along at a nightclub to the group’s older hits like “The Girl Likes Sax”…dancing along in a heavily air-conditioned nightclub…ah, we digress.
Have we mentioned that day five was about the kids? They were still gathered at the Squirrel’s Den for Soul Works Rhythm, the Lily Pad for Odaiko New England (demonstrating taiko drumming!), and the Knucklebones play area, while Strong Coffee Stage roamed the Common with their “Welcome! (To the Boston Common)”, a clown show in one act.
But if you were looking for something a little…darker…then the Spiegeltent did not disappoint. Street Corner Society’s #44 was an incredible piece of theater that used audience members randomly pulled from the crowd as its actors. Completely off-the-cuff and unpredictable, #44 was inspired by the unfinished “Mysterious Stranger” texts by Mark Twain, and put the “demon” in “demonstration”, with music, magic, and the black arts to articulating the moral sense of mankind. Who is the “mysterious stranger?” We’ll never tell – you have to see it for yourself.
Meanwhile, the older kids were already gathering at the Beacon Stage for the back-to-back bill of Augustana and Boys Like Girls. Augustana, fronted by (if the screams from the girls in the front row were any indication) heartthrob Dan Layus, will always hold a special place in our hearts for their hit song “Boston.”
In between Augustana and Boys Like Girls was a surprise guest – the new Boston-based band Best of Friends, featuring Morgan Dorr and John Keefe, both members of Boys Like Girls. Best of Friends would have been just as comfortable sharing a bill with the likes of Outside The Box faves Barnstar!, with their mandolins, ukuleles, and good ol’ Americana folk. In the midst of all the music, modern dance company Quicksilver Dance delved into contemporary and timeless issues on the Park Street Stage.
Finally it was time for hometown heroes Boys Like Girls! Singer Martin Johnson knows how to work a crowd – he had them screaming, dancing, and singing along from the first note. The band kicked off with some new tunes from their latest EP, Crazy World, like “Life of the Party”. Johnson, looking for an audience member who was “the life of the Outside The Box party”, wound up bringing a teen onstage to dance along to the song.
But this wasn’t the only time Johnson invited the audience into his world – he sang a duet with a young girl plucked from the crowd to all-time favorite “Two Is Better Than One.” “I’ve missed you, Boston, and it’s good to see you again!” Johnson proclaimed. Closing with the classic “Love Drunk”, he also demanded the audience (of mostly teens and young adults) to put down their phones and just enjoy the moment, like the old days. This made us feel very old, because we didn’t have any problem doing this.
The evening wasn’t over yet – the Boston Landmarks Orchestra opened their season at the Hatch Shell with Rhapsody In Green, their annual green concert that celebrates the city, state and national parks and honors the men and women who protect and preserve them. The Orchestra holds a special place in our hearts here at Outside The Box – our founder Ted Cutler dedicated the entire festival to late maestro Charles Ansbacher, whose legacy has been fully realized through the Orchestra’s free performances for all Bostonians from all walks of life.
As the night approached, so did the crowd to the Spiegeltent for Vaquero Playground’s performance of From Denmark, With Love. The hysterical, clever – very, very clever (OO-Syv, anyone?) – play is a mash-up parody of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Ian Fleming’s James Bond, and had the audience literally laughing out loud the entire performance. Can’t get enough of Hamlet, Claudius, Horatio Q. MoneyPenny, and (ahem) Ophelia Balzac? Get From Denmark, With Love: THE ALBUM right here.
Kids, adults, and everyone in between – come on out today to experience the kick-off of the Fork Lift Food Fest at our additional venue on City Hall Plaza, where you can also find performances from locals like Shea Rose, Bearstronaut, and Gentlemen Hall. See you on the Common AND the Plaza!