The library to get ready to rock!

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By The Staff

To anyone who thinks a library is just books, its time to look between the shelves because the Los Alamos County Library System is about to prove just how cool it really is. The rock ’n’ roll band, The High Strung is coming to perform, along with the local band, The Small Town Lab Rats.

The free concert will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge and is sponsored by the county libraries and funded in part by the Friends of the Library.

Several staff members at the county library, including Angie Manfredi, head of youth services, and Bernadine Goldman, assistant library manager, have heard The High Strung perform at different events, and admire the band’s talent. “They’re really terrific,” Goldman said.

She isn’t the only fan. According to a library press release, Rolling Stone, and the Village Voice, have praised the band as being one of the best rock n’ roll bands in America. The High Strung has also appeared on MTV, and have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, Magnet, Harp, and Spin magazines.

While the band will be performing through the library for the first time, it is their third national library tour.

The purpose behind the concert is to change a common perception about libraries, Goldman said. The hope is young people will realize what “fun, vibrant” places libraries can be, she explained.

Plus, it should provide good entertainment without the alcohol and smoke of a conventional concert, Goldman said. “I think (people) will have a really good time,” she said. “I think they should come and celebrate and have a good time.”

Librarian Bill Harmer of Michigan thought up the library concert; he wanted to vanquish libraries’ fussy, chilly image with loud, energetic music, the press release reports.

High Strung is made up of Josh Malerman, vocals; Derek Berk, drums; and Chad Stocker, bass.

Malerman said on the bands’ website, www.thehighstrung.com, that he and his band members have been friends since they were 11 years old. In addition to being close friends, they defy being placed into a musical category.

According to the bands website, The High Strung are not a traditional rock n’ roll band. There is no blues influences and they are often described as “quirky” or “autonomous.” They seem to share the same spirit as the Flaming Lips, Guided by Voices, the gang Merry Pranksters and author Lewis Carrol.

National Public Radio Ken Tucker hailed the band’s debut CD, “These are Good Times,” as one of the top 10 rock records of 2003, and their third CD, “Get the Guests” continues the rave reviews.

At concerts, Goldman said, they not only share their songs with the audience, but Malerman, Berk and Stocker also invite the audience to make up songs with them during concerts.

See what creation the band and Los Alamos residents produce during Wednesday’s concert.