Jen Rothacker, MomsCharlotte.com
One of Charlotte’s hottest upcoming concerts will have its audience screaming, crying and manically dancing. And it should be over by naptime.
Laurie Berkner, the curly-haired singer whose “kindie rock” on Noggin has made her a favorite among the preschool and elementary age crowd, hits Charlotte’s Ovens Auditorim on Sunday, March 29. It’s her band’s first time in the Queen City.
Berkner will perform songs from her new album, “Rocketship Run,” which sends kids on a treasure hunt via a rocketship. She suggests fans bring a stuffed animal to help sing the hit song, “Pig on Her Head.” (If you forget, there will be ones on sale.)
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“It’s a very active and moving show,” Berkner said.
Berkner, 40, doesn’t tour much – once a month, at most. A mom to 4-year-old Lucy, she likes to be close to her New York City home for playgroups and dance lessons. (Yes, Lucy likes her mom’s music, but no, Berkner doesn’t “test” stuff out on her very often.)
Like many children’s performers, Berkner didn’t set out to be a kiddie crooner. The New Jersey native started in rock bands, including the all-female cover band, Lois Lane. As a day job, she got work as a movement teacher for kids. At first, the work was tough. But then, on the advice of a colleague, she began “speaking to the children through the music” – and it worked. She wrote songs based on things she heard the preschoolers say. Eventually, she got booked to perform at parties.
Berkner realized it was more fun to sing to kids than adults.
“I was getting home at 5 or 6 in the morning with my band, but it was much more fun and sane to do the kids stuff,” she said. “You sing a song for a kid and they immediately start jumping around. Adults need three beers to do that.”
A big break came for Berkner when she was approached by Noggin, Nickelodeon’s commercial-free network, to perform music videos. That led to a permanent role on “Jack’s Big Music Show,” a song and dance fest that has made Berkner a celebrity in kids TV. But with that show coming to a close, Berkner is now figuring out her next career move.
“I don’t want to do another album right away, I want to expand on my creativity,” she said. “Maybe animating some music or working with a dance company or turning a song into a picture book. That intrigues me.”
The Laurie Berkner BandOvens Auditorium1 p.m. March 29Tickets: $25, $35Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000