Dan Zanes in a little orange tent


Yesterday morning we had our first family outing since Lily was born. When I heard Dan Zanes was coming to town for the Melbourne International Arts Festival Lily was only a month old and I couldn’t even imagine getting out to a kids’ show full of moshing preschoolers. But how could we not get tickets? So I bought them knowing so much changes in such a short time with babies and sure enough, while there was a mad scramble to get out the door and into the city by 11am, we made it to the (incredibly hot and stuffy) Club House tent and had such a good time.

I couldn’t help but feel lucky that we got to see the band here in Melbourne where the records are only available on import and only a small dedicated group of followers and review readers where keen enough to book tickets. It was a tiny little venue where we had great views and the kids could run around and dance and have a chance to interact with the band, even getting to meet and chat with them afterwards. Even so, I do hope they get to play far bigger venues next time they come out, so spread the word!

Amelia did lots of great dancing and singing, made some instant new friends (as only four year olds can do), got Dan Zanes’ autograph, plowed through enormous amounts of sushi for lunch followed by a chocolate ice-cream cone, put her hands into the water window at the Art Gallery as all Melbourne kids do at one time or another and then slept all the way home in the car.

Lily sat on Big-P’s lap, got hot, had a sleep, sat on Grandma’s lap, enjoyed the cooling blast of stand up fan and then slept all the way home in the car.

I managed to calm down after feeling that intense stress that I get when I think we are going to be late for something, had a dance with Amelia, cuddled Lily, bought a CD and enjoyed seeing a live band for the first time in a very long time. While it seems a sad state of affairs that I have to resort to seeing a band at 11am and one which keeps being labeled as kiddie-rock, I will tell you that Dan Zanes and Friends are thoroughly entertaining. The mums, dads and grandparents where getting into it equally or even more than their kids. I have always had such a soft spot for traditional folky, bluesy, rootsy kinds of music so in comparison to some other kids’ shows we have seen there was no twisting of my arm to have to get me to go along to this. And there was the added bonus that there were no oversized dinosaur characters, no primary-coloured turtle necked shirts, no stands selling huge amounts of plastic merchandise (apart from the CDs) causing kids to whinge and whine and melt down and no agro Mums trying to barge themselves, their toddlers and their prams to the front row. What relief.