Hmmm…where to start with this review? I guess I could start by telling you the amazing tale of two children who happened to like punk music, who happened to be brother and sister, who happened to like using Apple’s Garageband program and who happened to become one of the most talked about bands on New York’s club scene. But that’s boring and also just lists what’s on the press release.
I’ll let the others do that kind of thing and tell you that even David Bowie has gotten in on this act and proclaimed them the new something or other. The duo have also had the opportunity of recording with Karen-O. Which is pretty cool considering their average age is eleven. They recently released an EP which sold out completely. Which I guess is an indication of their popularity and perhaps a taste of what’s in store for them.
Tiny Masters of Today are twelve year old Ivan and ten year old sister Ada. Ivan plays guitar and Ada plays bass. They both share vocal duties and, yes, they play punk music. Very loudly in fact and, considering their age, very well. Today, Ivan is dressed like Jack White, red trousers and black T-shirt, while Ada is dressed in an attire more akin to a normal ten year old kid with a bright blue outfit.
Vocally, their small pre-pubescent voices are perfect for punk music where details such as melody or pitch are unimportant. The flagship Fopp on London’s Tottenham Court Road, is not exactly brimming with people – it being Easter weekend, most of London is away – but the crowd is respectable and made up of a bunch of very young girls, and a few bemused adults curious as to what is going to happen on stage.
On drums sits an ageing rocker who looks like an absolute giant compared to the diminutive duo. He pounds the drums, backing Ivan and Ada brilliantly and also coaxes them to speak into the microphone or get the crowd going. At one point Ada says, “you can dance if we want to”, but no one does, it all feels a little too surreal for all-out moshing. She also speaks when she presents their song about President Bush called ‘Bushy’. This gets a nice laugh from the British crowd.
Their final song is a cover of House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ delivered perfectly by Ivan. Ada provides an interesting vocal interpretation of the ‘weoowwwing’ noise that plays throughout the original. A great and hilarious way to end this show. Ivan even has time to have a punk-rocker’s tantrum on the floor, rocking out like there is no tomorrow and slamming the microphone to the ground. Bless.
Ultimately though, despite the record company’s attempts to tell us otherwise, Tiny Masters of Today are a novelty act. But a very good one. This isn’t a return to the days of Kriss Kross and Hanson where being under 15 was a good thing in popular music. For one thing, this ain’t no pop music. These kids from Brooklyn, New York seem to really enjoy and get what they’re doing on stage, which is most important – record company marketing tool they are not.
Check ‘em out soon, I don’t know when they will return to Europe. I guess it depends on when the school holidays are in the States.