The Los Angeles-based No Small Children made up of three elementary school teachers make their first visit to Motor City and leave with many new fans in the Detroit area.

12-Aug-2016: A small art space in a northern suburb of Detroit, is host to multiple bands, including No Small Children. The band is notable for many reasons, but mostly for the fact they all teach at the same elementary school in Los Angeles. While the band is on tour across the Eastern and Midwestern states through the end of August, their next big engagement is getting their classrooms ready for the fall school season.

The band, Joanie Pimentel (bass and vocals), Lisa Pimentel (guitar, trumpet, and vocals), and Nicola Berlinsky (drums), has been on a whirlwind year of change, starting with their cover of Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” theme song making on the soundtrack to the 2016 remake of the 80s iconic film garnering No Small Children national exposure. In addition, they are finishing a new track in the studio, scheduled for release in the near future.

The band played at the Phoenix Club in Hazel Park, Michigan on a hot Friday in lower Michigan. The Phoenix Cafe is an unusual venue for a rock concert. The space is small holding maybe a hundred people tops and features artwork on the walls, paintings, drawings, and the like. They bill themselves as an all-volunteer music venue and art gallery where they offer the stage for music, poetry, and open mic while also hosting art related art exhibits and workshops.

When it comes to a live show, No Small Children are unreserved, engaging, and generally fun on stage. Their music lends itself well to the performance style, including tracks like “Drunk Creepy Guy,” the one at every bar who drinks too much and doesn’t understand why women aren’t interested; “W*nches and B*tches,” a song they list as their personal anthem; and “Might Get Up Slow” a song about perseverance (“I might get up slow, but I’ll get up”). Their lyrics are fun, even humorous addressing real life issues while pulling few punches.

While the show was lightly attended, those in attendance, most who have never heard NSC previously enjoyed their set. Some fans danced, others sang, and all cheered. Joanie and Lisa seem to front the band together, bantering with the audience, telling jokes and the occasional story, even getting those unfamiliar with their material to sing in response on “Salad,” a song which speaks about the love/hate relationship with leafy greens when you would rather have a burger and fries.

Lisa showed off her versatility playing trumpet on “Big Steps,” which received a big response from the crowd. The hard-rocking “FU in Any Language,” complete with a certain finger gesture, also received more than a few smiles and shouts of approval. More than a few women at the concert seemed to relate to “Baby I Love You Even Though,” a song about the men in their lives who do things to drive them crazy.

No Small Children closed with their recent single, “Ghostbusters,” which is an indie/punk-influenced version of the original bringing many cheers and applause from those in attendance. Each of the band took the time to speak with the those in attendance. One younger fan made a point to share his approval, saying “you guys are awesome.” Clearly, the band gained many new fans this night at the Phoenix Cafe.

While most at the show were new to the band, a few were there who have history with the band, including Shelly and Allan from California who happened to be visiting Michigan. They explained that one of their children had attended school where they band members teach. Their son had Nicola for fourth grade, Lisa for music, and took bass lessons from Joanie after school. Shelly and Allan explained that the parents and kids are supportive of the three teachers. “It is not unusual to see a few parents … at their gigs and other teachers to see them play,” added Shelly.

What’s next for No Small Children? Many big things, hints the band. The first will be their next single tentatively scheduled for release in September. Who knows what else. The title of their 2015 album is an apt description of their life today; Hold Tight, I’m Flying. Yes, they are.

Additional performances this evening include Deep Fayed from Chicago, a hip-hop groove-rock six-piece and Vinyl Handshakes from Detroit, an indie-pop artist.

No Small Children setlist: 1. Big Steps, 2. Hold Tight I’m Flying, 3. W*nches and B*tches, 4. I Don’t Want It, 5. Machine, 6. Drunk Creepy Guy, 7. FU in Any Language, 8. Back to Bed, 9. I Don’t Want Your Love, 10. Can’t Say No, 11. Salad, 12. Might Get Up Slow, 13. Ghostbusters

No Small Children
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Phoenix Cafe
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About The Author

Dave Ball has spent most of his life in the Detroit West Side area. Music has always been a passion for him, playing in bands on Bass and working as a promoter. He also has experience as a Guitar and Bass tech for notable Detroit acts such as Agent Fury and The Meanies. His current work as a writer and photographer has extended his role as Managing Editor of National Rock Review.

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