Chris “Boom!” Wiser opens all his band's concerts, shouting, “Are you ready for a rock show?”
Because that's exactly what Wiser and his musical partner Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin put on every time they take the stage, even if the stage is often a public library or an elementary school and the audience runs to toddlers, preschoolers, grade-schoolers and their parents.
As the Oklahoma City-based duo Sugar Free Allstars, Wiser and Martin are trailblazers on the burgeoning kindie rock — or indie rock for kids — scene.
“In the past two years, the highlights would be: part of a feature on Time magazine's website, toured in New York, went to (Washington) D.C. and played on Sirius XM, had a song on NPR's ‘Car Talk' ... and toured the West Coast,” said Wiser, the duo's lead singer, songwriter and keyboardist.
“And we have a song featured on a Grammy-winning album.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Allstars were on home turf, rocking familiar favorites and an infectious new song, putting on a full-fledged “Disco Dance Party” and getting the youngsters packing the auditorium of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library to scream louder than any human should ever scream in a library.
One of the dates on their annual summer library tour, Tuesday's show was particularly special, since it celebrated the release of their third “family funk” album, “All on a Sunday Afternoon,” as well as the video for that groovy new song, “Gotta Get Up.”
Oklahoma City filmmaker and NewsOK videographer Kyle Roberts directed the stop-motion animated video, which features the musicians as themselves and as action figures.
“He did such a fantastic job. I can't say enough good things about Kyle,” Wiser said.
“It kind of freaked me out at first, though, because it's like ‘I'm a doll and I'm singing.'”
Back in 2006, Wiser and Martin were making music for grown-ups and playing club gigs.
They were invited to perform a Sunday Twilight Concert at the Myriad Gardens.
“There was a bunch of kids there, so we decided to play a lot of these silly songs that we had,” said drummer/backup singer Martin.
When Dana Morrow, the Metropolitan Library System's outreach director, heard their show got the children up and dancing, she called up Wiser.