by Andrew Crisp
A pint-sized crowd came to the Crux Saturday, Oct. 27, when little tykes got a taste of candy, music and a dance floor at a show put on especially for them by the band Play Date.
Led by The Bouncing Souls' punker and singer Greg Attonito and his wife, singer-songwriter Shanti Wintergate, Play Date took the stage in support of their 2012 kids album, Imagination. But before they could play, the group of kids in attendance needed to get wild.
That job fell to the rabbit-ear-wearing Jon Swarthout, executive director of the Treasure Valley Institute for Children's Arts, the beneficiary of a portion of the evening's proceeds. Swarthout taught the kids how to boogie on stage.
"Shape your hands into spiders!" he told the kids, and simulated a spider dance.
While grown-ups drank adult beverages, the kids engaged in a host of pre-show activities centered on color. They tasted fistfuls of candy corn, chomped on cookies, and colored furiously at a table in the center of the venue. In the corner, their cheeks were painted with whiskers and flowers and they received balloon animals from a separate station across the venue.
Play Date began with the single "Dance Like a Monster," in which a driving bass got the kids moving. Repeated refrains beckoned the children to dance, and included easy-to-remember verses on how monsters shimmy.
The kids showed their support after the performance. After Attonito and Wintergate bounded off stage, a litany of children walked up to shyly shake hands. One little boy said, "Hi Greg! Bye Greg!" and promptly ran off.
The Play Date pair said they plan to play more shows, and may pursue a regular animated children's show.