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‘Yule Ball’ at the Bell House

A magical evening: ‘Wizard rock’ band throws Harry Potter holiday party

The Brooklyn Paper
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Talk about holiday magic!

Harry and the Potters are the creators of a musical genre known as “wizard rock” — an entire subculture of Harry Potter fans who write and perform songs from the perspective of their favorite characters. For nine years, the Norwood, Mass., band has been hosting an annual “Yule Ball” around the East Coast, and the spellbinding event returns to Brooklyn this year on Dec. 21.

“The atmosphere is for everyone to celebrate and get dressed up because they love these stories,” said Joe DeGeorge, one-half of the band. “Essentially, by the end of the night everyone is screaming about a book. It’s really, really cool.”

DeGeorge started Harry and the Potters with his brother Paul in 2002, when he was just 14. Now the band has been around longer than the Beatles, releasing three albums and six EPs. And though it has been six years since the final Harry Potter book, and two years since the film series ended, the musical magicians continue to tour the globe, playing libraries, bars, book stores, and coffee houses.

The Yule Ball — inspired by the Christmas school dance that Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Hogwarts gang go to in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” — is the celebratory concert of the year for wizard rock fans, who will also get to see heroes like the Potter Puppet Pals and Lauren Fairweather (formerly of the Moaning Myrtles) in one place. And though many Potter fans are now all grown-up — the DeGeorge brothers themselves are now 26 and 34 — a number of them are still quite active in the community.

“Our audience, I feel like you can tell some of them have grown up a bit,” DeGeorge said. “But there are always new people reading these books. There are always new people seeing us play‚ even bringing their kids to these shows. With a book that has that much cultural impact, I don’t expect it to really fade away.”

It is also surprisingly punk rock, said DeGeorge — or at least as punk rock as a band can be with songs such as “Cornelius Fudge is an Ass,” “My Teacher is a Werewolf,” and “Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock” can be.

“It’s very much a DIY band,” DeGeorge said. “We’d go around the country, hauling our PA system into libraries.”

“Yule Ball” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St., between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643—6510, www.thebellhouseny.com]. Dec. 21 at 5 pm. $18.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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