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.

34 Responses to “Dan Zanes in a little orange tent”

  1. tiel@tsktsk.com.au

    that sounds like a great concert and music. I have not yet taken my children to any of those ‘other’ concerts..and plan that I never will. We go to the Qld Orchestra concerts that a put on for kiddies. Called Cushion Concerts. They are great.
    Is there a site reference to Dan Zanes?

  2. sreesosborne@ozemail.com.au

    Another cool band for kids and adults is Coco’s Lunch. They are 5 Melbourne women who sing a capella, have several cds out, including a children’s one,and do both adult and family shows. They often play at the Spiegeltent when it is here in September. No skivvies or dinosaurs, I promise, just exquisite voices and good fun.

  3. no_appropriate_behavior@yahoo.com

    I’m so glad you got to go.
    I love his music videos so much, I have the TIVO programmed to record them (they actually show up as information on the Disney channel here — if only all music videos were so accomidating).

  4. vivjones@netvigator.com

    I discovered Dan Zanes through your blog, bought a CD and have we loved the man (and his band) ever since. It was the soundtrack of our summer holiday. If only he would come and play in Hong Kong…!

  5. khinglis@gmail.com

    Lucky you! I have just about all of his CDs, as well as his concert DVD.. and I think I’m more hooked on his music than my son. I’m living vicariously through you… 🙂

  6. jenny@queenthings.com

    oh how fun!! i read about dan zanes in a martha stewart article…it was actually his thanksgiving dinner, not his music that was the focus of the story! 🙂 sounds like a fun time!

  7. wildog@optusnet.com.au

    Wow – I’m so jealous. We see Dan all the time on Playhouse Disney, and are very disappointed to see Melbourne only on the ads. We did buy his music on iTunes, though 🙂

  8. soozs@bigpond.com

    How do I miss these things?! I’ve been scouring the shops for Dan Zanes CDs, never having heard a note but too excited for words by the prospect of some decent kids music. where oh where does a Melbourne girl get her hands on the goods?

  9. goldtop@dircon.co.uk

    I had never heard of this guy until reading your blog, but having just checked out his website – he’s cool! (and I don’t even have any children to blame it on…) :)He reminds me a bit of Jonathon Richman..

  10. amy@aplcreations.com

    We love Dan Zanes at our house. It sounds like they are just as wonderful live as they are on disc and Playhouse Disney. I’m a little green that you got to see them live!

  11. claquee@hotmail.com

    hi claire! hooray for family music outings, and fun with no (or less) intense stress. i am working on getting that out of my enjoyment of things too– slowly but surely. has something to do w motherhood- but doessn’t have to be there. i hope. cheers!!

  12. sarahNOTsara@gmail.com

    Our first exposure to Dan Zanes was at the dedication of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. He and his crew put on a fabulous show. There’s something special about an artist who can get kids moving and interested in music while entertaining Mom and Dad at the same time. Dan Zanes does that in spades and for those of you who’ve never heard him, I can’t recommend him enough.

  13. slcstudio@gmail.com

    We’ve recently discoverd Dan Zanes, too, and “Catch that Train” is on heavy rotation with my 3 yr. old. Sounds like a fabulous time was had by all!

  14. kneedeepinlife@gmail.com

    We love Dan Zanes.
    And I can completely relate to that anxiety about getting out the door on time. My friend suggests a glass of wine half an hour before you leave for anywhere with the kids (obviously when she’s not driving). She says it makes her much more relaxed about being late, and about crowds and such.

  15. psylvor@yahoo.com

    When I was a 20-something living in Boston Dan Zanes was in a popular local band called the Del Fuegos. Now that I’m a 40 something mom, it feels very full circle that he now plays family music.

  16. ljm@nospam.com

    That sounds like a wonderful concert experience! It’s funny – all of my American friends talk about Dan Zanes’ music, but I’ve never heard of him at home (which is Canada, for me). I have been meaning to pick up his Night Time CD ever since you blogged about it ages ago …

  17. karenthelwell@hotmail.com

    Sounds like a fabulous day!! Glad you all had fun.

  18. shae.reid@bigpond.com

    I don’t think I ‘ve been completely on time for anything since Andrew was born, so I have that horrible feeling all the time! This band sounds great, must check them out!

  19. melmo@aanet.com.au

    Thanks for the tip on Dan Zanes. You might also really like Elizabeth Mitchell. You can hear some of her music here

  20. susannah@butterflyrocket.com

    We saw Dan Zanes twice this week at the festival 🙂 (Thursday morning and this afternoon for the final show). Both times, absolutely brilliant! So happy you got to venture out and enjoy it as a family. I agree though…how hot was it in that tent!!!

  21. sugarbunnyblvd@aol.com

    Big DZ fans in our house!! My 2yo is always begging to watch the Denzeen Denzeen videos on the computer since we usually miss him on Disney channel in the morning. We got our first DZ CD at Starbucks!

  22. lisa_pie@hotmail.com

    thanks Loobylu for introducing us to the joy that is Dan Zanes. My daughter and I feel rather privileged to have seen his Melbourne show. For those of you asking, his CDs and DVD are available locally at Discurio.

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