The upcoming Macaroons concert at Café du Nord may appear to be just another show at the hip San Francisco music venue — except that half the audience will most likely be under the age of 4, and they’ll receive complimentary juice boxes upon entry.
Why this sudden live music interest from the nursery school set? The Macaroons is fundamentally a children’s act, with Jewish-themed sing-along lyrics about things such as a magic tallis ride and apples with honey. While the lyrics are indeed silly, the music tends to veer more towards rock ’n’ roll.
This may be because the band, which formed last summer, is made up of JDub Records alums and seasoned indie rock musicians. The group consists of four players — Dave Schneider, Daniel Saks, Shawn Fogel and Michael Azerrad — who currently also perform in bands such as the Leevees, DeLeon, Golden Bloom and the Zambonis.
While the band members have logged plenty of hours on stage in other acts, the Café du Nord show will be just their second as the Macaroons. And if it goes anything like their first one, gleeful children will be dancing in the aisles.
“There was a dance circle that evolved on the side — and the parents told us they had a lot of fun too, which is great,” Saks says. “We don’t want to torture parents.”
It’s true — a lot of the children’s music out there can be a drag for parents to have to listen to on repeat.
“We’ve all been making grownup music for a while,” Saks says, “but a pretty common gripe among our friends with children is that there is mostly mediocre kids music out there — and
the good Jewish kid’s music pool is even smaller.”
While the Brooklyn-based 31-year-old has no children of his own yet, he’s spent many an afternoon playing acoustic guitar and making up silly songs for his two young nieces. The girls also have a preview of the Macaroons album, which they listen to “at least a dozen times a day,” according to Saks’ brother.
The album, “Let’s Go Coconuts,” which comes out this spring on JDub Records (a nonprofit label that promotes innovative Jewish music), will include Macaroons songs such as “Billy Bagel,” “Haman! Boo!” and “Flying on Matzah Brie.”
“We weren’t making an overly educational record — we were having fun with Jewish identity and concepts,” explains Saks. “The goal is to create positive associations and familiarity with such things.”
The origin of “Flying on Matzah Brie” is one example of this mentality.
“I was just having fun with one of my favorite quirky holiday foods,” says Saks.”[Matzah brie] is strange, but I love it and I only ever get to eat it this one week out of the year. Flying matzah brie was a funny visual for me — the sloppy brie flying around your kitchen, freaking parents out.”
Saks points to children’s music maven Barry Louis Polisar as another artist who pushes the boundaries of the genre.
In fact, Saks, when he was growing up in a religious household in Maryland, regarded Polisar as something of a personal hero — one who occasionally performed at his elementary school.
“Polisar felt like a giant of rock ’n’ roll when I was 6,” he says. “I have numerous signed records and really fond memories of his songs — they were a little bit edgy, unlike how most kids’ music is today.”
While Saks laughs off the idea of the Macaroons being similar lyrical rebels, he does believe his band has an edge in its approach to music. “We felt like we made a rock album that kids can listen to,” he says.
The Macaroons will perform at 11 a.m. Feb. 7 at Café du Nord, 2174 Market St., S.F. Tickets are $10 or free for infants in arms. For details, visit www.cafedunord.com.