Pint-size may describe their stature, but their music is a full-blown case (12-pack would make for a less ambiguous metaphor), with a fifth thrown in for good measure. The kids in Paul Green's School of Rock All-Stars are too young to indulge in the sinful excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle, but they're certainly old enough to shred. And they're definitely talented enough to inspire heavy praise for their heavy metal. "These kids are phenomenal. Man, I gotta tell you, I'm a professional musician, and most of these kids could play with any of us. They're that good," says Tommy Rich, music director for the school's Cleveland chapter. "It's not like, hey, that's good for a kid. It's just awesome."Nearly 30 of the school's most gifted 9- to 18-year-old students from along the East Coast will descend upon the Grog Shop tonight. The kids — handpicked and auditioned by Green himself — get to take the stage only after they set it up. "They go out, take a bus, move their own gear, set up their own stuff, and tear it down," says Rich. "There's no fooling around till after it's all stowed and done." The hard work also keeps their egos in check. Otherwise, says Rich, the attention could swell their heads long before they graduate from high school, let alone rock school. "It's kind of disgusting. We sit there looking at each other, saying, 'What am I going to teach this kid?' They could teach me something. They play eclectic set lists — stuff like King Crimson, Zappa, and intense prog-rock shit," says Rich. "Adrian Belew from King Crimson actually has a couple of the All-Stars in his touring band. That's how good they are." Hear for yourself at 5 tonight at the Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Call 216-321-5588 or visit www.grogshop.gs.
Fri., Dec. 28, 5 p.m., 2007
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