Sunday, March 7, 2010

Caspar Babypants - Live at the Capitol!

I figured that since I actually saw Caspar Babypants live with my kids, he deserved a little more space to talk about.  Also, since my husband is a fan of The Presidents of the United States of America and has been playing songs by them for our son since he was a wee one, a more in depth post was needed.

So what does the Presidents of the United States of America and Caspar Babypants have in common?  Well, as all the numerous articles and interviews like to point out, Chris Ballew is Caspar Babypants.  Yeah, really, that's exactly how he is introduced every single time.  Chris Ballew, lead singer of the Presidents of the United States (the group behind Lump) is in fact, Caspar Babypants.  Kind of weird isn't it?  Even the title of his website says, caspar babypants is chris ballew.  Like he's trying to say, "No, really, it is me!"  Okay, we get it.  That's quite an alter ego if you ask me and there's no way he's going to keep this a secret anymore.  And what's with all the references to Lump?  Was that the only song that they sang?  What about Peaches?  Okay, yes I did see Peaches mentioned too.

But, I digress.  We're here to talk about Caspar Babypants and the show his band put on in the rotunda at the Capitol sponsored by Mom's Rising.  I get a weekly email update from Seattle magazine Parent Map, that lets me know all the happenings going on in Seattle and the South Sound region.  So, lo and behold one day I read that Caspar Babypants will be putting on a free show at the Capitol Rotunda, and I say, "I am so there".  I tell me husband about it and he feels that it's necessary to take the afternoon off too.

I was curious just how they were going to set up a band to play in the rotunda since the area directly under the dome is four sets of stairs leading up to, and down to, a square which contains the roped off seal of Washington state.  I imagined a series of toddlers tumbling head-over-heals down the marble stairs chased by frantic mommies.  Instead the band was set-up in a hallway off-center from the dome and nobody tumbled.  However, the venue was still odd since the group sat directly in front of a rather gigantic, shiny-nosed bust of George Washington (I believe his nose has been rubbed more than once for luck).  The hallway was large, but was packed with kids, parents, and various legislators who stopped by to see what all the fuss was about.  Needless to say it was a hot and smelly affair, but nobody seemed to mind.

I read about Caspar Babypants when he debuted his album Here I Am.  My family was immediately intrigued knowing what Chris Ballew's background was. (Did you know that caspar babypants is chris ballew!?)  Anyway, we immediately went online and tried to find some of the songs to listen to.  However, because we had preconceived notions of what his music for PUSA sounded like, we were caught off guard, and ultimately, disappointed.  I think what we all hoped to hear was something like dune buggy.

Still, when I saw that he would be in town I knew it was a good musical opportunity for my family (I don't deny that I was also happy that the show was free).  I don't claim to have enjoyed the cramped, hot, sweaty, stinky, smelly quarters, but, the MUSIC, the music was FUN!  Honestly, I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed myself.  And though neither of my children is a card carrying member of the "Fisher-Price, My First Mosh-Pit" group (I stole that from Captain Bogg), they also had fun!

I know everyone knows this, but seeing someone perform music in person is such a distinctly different experience than listening to music on a CD, or even watching a video on YouTube.  Especially in such an intimate setting (it doesn't get more intimate than singing and sweating in a hallway with a ton of little people and the smell of a very ripe diaper).  The group started out with the song Baby Bear and I was instantly hooked.  Even my very squirmy baby boy took a moment to listen intently.  I apologize that I don't remember the whole play list.  While I tried to remain focused on the music, I still had to watch a 6-year-old and previously mentioned squirmy, wormy almost-two-year-old.  So, here's what else my husband and I also seem to remember hearing:  Little Broken Truck (a real crowd pleaser), Mary Had a Little Lamb, I'm a Nut (also enjoyed by the crowd), Run Baby Run (lots of out-of-control toddlers), and Under a Rock.  Sorry it's such a sketchy list.  Songs were included from his new album More Please!

At one point I had to skip out to the car, just before the concert was almost over, so I missed the song in which Caspar (who is Chris Ballew) paraded through the crowd playing a melodica.  My husband took pictures though and when I saw them, I asked him, "was that a real musical instrument?"  Yes, yes it is.  In fact there are numerous pictures of him on the internet playing this thing that looks more like a Fisher-Price toy from the 70's than a real musical instrument.  You see why you have to really go see someone play live in order to get the full experience?  Okay, I'll stop harping on that now.

So, to sum up, my family has a new appreciation for Caspar Babypants.  I'm happy to say that the numerous videos on the internet meant that we could see and hear the music from a new perspective too.  Included here are some of our favorites.  Also, if you want to hear more music, visit the Caspar Babypants website, which has a player at the bottom of the page so that you can listen to songs in full.

First up is itsy bitsy spider.  Everyone likes this video because the added lyrics bring a whole new level to the song.  But, more importantly is just how awesome the video is in all it's simplicity.  Everyone knows the hand-movements associated with this simple song, but to make your hands look like real characters is just so cool.  I can't do the video justice with my words, you just have to watch it.

Next up is poor dust bunnies, a fan video that really compliments the music.  You know you're cool when talented people want to make videos of your songs.

Finally, is Mama's favorite.  I tend to be a very sensitive person who will cry even at commercials so this video hits me right where it counts.  I'm always a blubbering mess after watching this one.

For more really cool Caspar Babypants videos visit the caspar babypants tv YouTube channel.  Or, visit my new Mrs. Mama's Monsters YouTube channel for Caspar Babypants and other fun kids music videos.


  1. Hi, Mrs. Mama! I enjoyed your fun post, including the mention of my clients Captain Bogg & Salty. Would you like to get other kids' music news? For example, do you know about the free Harmonica Pocket library shows this month?

  2. Beth BlenzClucas,
    I would love to get more kids music news! My family and I absolutely love your clients Captain Bogg & Salty (I've written about then before). Also, yes, we did hear about the Harmonica Pocket shows and we actually just saw them yesterday! It was a great show and I'm already working on a post about them. Please contact me at MrsMamasMonsters[AT]gmail[DOT]com. No spam though please! Thanks for your comment!

  3. glad you could come around to appreciating the Caspar thing! its no PUSA but Im not trying to make it be so its all good. ANd by the way...CASPAR BABYPANTS IS CHRIS BALLEW!!!

  4. Chris,
    Thanks so much for stopping by to read my little blog. My family is looking forward to your next album and more fun shows in the future!