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Eugene Weekly : Music : 6.21.07

Raise Your Wands

Wizard rock arrives at the library

BY BRIAN PALMER

The Remus Lupins, The Parselmouths. 4 pm Tuesday, June 26. Downtown Library. FREE

Unless you've been living under a ginormous rock or in a cave in the Alps, you undoubtedly know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — the final entry in J. K. Rowling's wildly popular book series — will appear on shelves on July 21. And considering the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book five, if you've lost track) comes out July 11, chances are great the world will collectively shut down for the entire month of July. Mark my words: If aliens want to catch us unaware, this will be the perfect time.

What you may not know, however, is that within the last couple years, an entire music subculture has been spawned from the world of Harry Potter: wizard rock. More than 200 bands have come up with clever names (The Hermione Crookshanks Experience, for example) and written rock 'n' roll, punk, acoustic and even dance songs about everything from going to Hogsmeade to saving Ginny Weasley from deadly basilisks. There is an engaging purity to the music these bands make since the often campy songs ooze with absolute joy and silliness. These folks genuinely have fun mixing their love of music and Harry Potter.

The phenomenon of wizard rock has been growing so much that last summer, two bands — Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys — did a library tour across the United States that was featured on NPR. Even MTV recently did a piece on this unique genre's appeal to mainstream America thanks to the Internet and Potter fanatics.

Thankfully, the spectacle that is rock 'n' roll library touring will be coming to Eugene this summer. The Remus Lupins hit the Downtown Library one week after their second album, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, is released. The music of The Remus Lupins ranges from epic ballads to cooky piano rock stompers like "Loosen Your Tie," from their debut, Spells From a Broken Wand. Handclaps, ba-ba-bas and random shouts from backup singers often accompany singer/guitarist Alex Carpenter as he warbles about his "awesome scarf" or laments the tragic death of Cedric Diggory.

Of course, the idea of taking rock 'n' roll music into a library is probably galling enough to make old-fashioned librarians want to quit their jobs and start whisper-filled protests, but by using slogans such as "Fight evil, read books," and displaying a lyrical appreciation for dozens of events and themes found in these stories, bands like The Remus Lupins are showing that you can have a good time with books and music simultaneously.

And that's a combination that might scare He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named even more than does Our Hero, Harry.