Start with streams of flying toilet paper. Add cascades of confetti. Set it to the beat of pulse-pounding rock, delivered by musicians dressed as furniture movers. Throw in plenty of singing, dancing, audience interaction and general mayhem, and you’ve got an idea of the Imagination Movers experience.
On Saturday, July 14, the Emmy Award-winning performers will storm the Ocean City Music Pier for their first-ever concert here. The performance will begin at 6 p.m.
Imagination Movers was established in 2003, when four New Orleans friends — Scott Durbin, Rich Collins, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith — decided there was a dearth of entertainment for young people.
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“When you have kids, as a parent you start evaluating the media your kids are exposed to — music, TV, and movies,” said founding member Durbin. “We started as a reaction to the lack of real people in children’s programming.”
With the help of friends at a local PBS affiliate, the band members set out to create a TV series about “four brainstorming goofballs who solved problems and encouraged creativity in kids.”
Though the affiliate didn’t have money to air it, the project “took on a life of its own,” said Durbin. “Soon we released an album, started playing concerts, and created content in the form of music videos. From there, a grassroots effort started, and we just kept pushing and pushing.”
In 2007, the group was discovered by the Disney Channel, which produced a live-action TV series based on their antics from 2008 to 2014, reaching viewers in more than 50 countries. The Movers are now available On Demand and via the Disney Junior App. They also just finished recording their 10th album and are developing an animated series called “Super Movers.”
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For kids who like a little attitude with their entertainment (and parents who sometimes must white-knuckle it through concerts with their kids), Imagination Movers are a breath of fresh air. The New York Times has hailed the band’s “non-condescending lyrics,” and Parenting magazine praised their “dash of rebellion” and songs that are “fresh and treacle-free.”
Durbin described the band as “Blue Man Group meets Blink-182 for kids — weird as that may sound. I think when you see us play, you’ll understand the smashup.”
He emphasized the band plays real, live music — no prerecorded tracks, ever.
“It’s important for kids to see the creative process in music as being present and active. And hopefully we inspire them to pick up an instrument to strum, or drum, or even sing,” Durbin said.
But this is not kiddie-pop, he added.
“We’re really about putting a show on for the whole family. I think it’s important for kids to see their parents enjoying a show alongside them. We make sure we include something that appeals to everyone, even teenagers. And in a few years, I suppose we’ll be able to do the ironic college tour as our first viewers start entering college.”
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Durbin says the best part of the show for him is the audience response.
“We have a lyric from one of our songs that says, ‘We get our energy from the crowd!’ And it’s true. It’s like we’re throwing a party and everyone is invited. Seeing them having fun is what it’s all about.”
As for the music, Durbin described it as inspired by “power pop to ska to ’80s new wave to punk and hip-hop.”
Asked to explain the name Imagination Movers, he said, “We saw it as the perfect blend of the body and brain, encouraging movement and creativity. Of course, a lot of people just call us the Movers. And yes, we get emails and calls for us to move furniture all the time.”
He said the guys are looking forward to their first show in O.C.
“We’re first timers! We’re so looking forward to it, as we’ve heard that Ocean City is an amazing place,” Durbin said.
Tickets are $18, $20 and $23. For reservations, call 609-399-6111 or visit oceancityvacation.com/boxoffice.