#haikureview: Waterboy and the Mighty World at The Bushwick Starr


I just got home from experiencing The Hawtplates’ Waterboy and the Mighty World at The Bushwick Starr this evening (preceded by an astounding meal at Seawolf by the way) and I feel completely filled, spiritually and physically.

Sitting next to the producer as the house lights went down, I realized I had no idea what the show was about, and he whispered, “just think of it as a live recording of a concept album.” So I did.

Everything about the 90-minute musical immersion was honed to simple perfection, and reverberated through our bones, through time and space.

I felt like I was an infinitely blessed fly on the wall of an intimate family folktale or singalong. I was always one step behind the three singers, barely grasping the story they were weaving, but catching just enough to let it wash over me and make a deep impression. Each singer had a chance to shine. Justin Hicks as a loving and wry smiling conductor of sorts, Jade Hicks as a fresh, zen sonic storyteller, but Kenita Miller-Hicks burst forth as my personal favorite - the raw and shocking power of her voice and dancing made my jaw literally drop.

The question they seemed to be asking each other (which we just so happened to get to witness on the perfectly lit sparse stage) might have been,

“Can one love, when the law is hate? Is there hope for pure clean water when you’re stuck in hundreds of years of muck? Can you sing, while remembering shackles?”

And The Hawtplates’ answer was a pitch-perfect, soulful, heart melting and hauntingly beautiful,


And after the gift of their music tonight, I am apt to ask the question, and give a more hopeful reply as well.

There is only one more show of this run - tomorrow night - but I have it on good authority that they’ll be at Joe’s Pub this Fall… keep an eye out, an ear to the ground, a hole in the bucket.