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Warning, cute bearded men ahead

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a Trampled by Turtles concert.  Think you don’t know these guys?  You just might.

The night was hot the crowd was packed, but it was a beautiful night.  Warning, do not look at the photos listed below unless you want to see cute talented  bearded men playing instruments.

 

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Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Gentlemen of the Road Tour, Version 2.0

 

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My favorite IT guy  and I traveled to our second Gentlemen of the Road Tour last week.  By traveled, I mean we were in a car for over 1200 miles.  Seriously, who travels 1200 miles for a concert in a town of less than 30,000 people?  Crazy people?  Perhaps, but I’d prefer to call us music lovers who are just looking for a fun kid-free weekend who know it’s worth the drive after going to a prior GOTR concert.  Our passion is no different that fans traveling to see their favorite football or soccer game. (Are you a crazed soccer fan?  If so, then perhaps you should check out my friend Tanya’s blog http://soccerfamilystyle.com)

We were able to listen to some of our favorite bands, including Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show.  We also added a few bands to our new favorites list:  Bear’s Den, RubbleBucket, and The Vaccines.  I’d love to see all of them again, as soon as possible, like tomorrow.  Of course, I can’t forget Willy Mason.  While listening to him to I imagined listening to his music on a date night while sipping a really good glass of red wine.  I feel like he’s been in the music scene for a lot longer than he actually has.  He is just pure talent.

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One of the things I love most about the GOTR tour, is that they completely take over a small town for a weekend, generally doubling the towns population and giving it a huge influx of cash.  Fans are generally some of the happiest out there of any music festival (except annoying camper neighbor dude, but I won’t waste my breath further about him) and the city itself is just pretty darn happy to have everyone visiting their quaint town.  As an added bonus, I also was able to meet Amy from http://www.folkgeek.net.  I love meeting with people who as just as passionate, if not more so, about music, than I am.

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No GOTR tour would be complete without going around and getting your passport stamped.  I’m not exactly sure how many stamps we ended up getting, but we completed our GOTR passport.  What a fantastic way to learn about bands and the town!  I won’t lie, I was a tad disappointed that I didn’t pick the correct after party to go to, to watch Mumford and Sons play a late night acoustic set, as I did last year in Dixon, Illinois (which by the way, was the best concert experience I’ver ever had.)

I’ve been to many a concert over the years, but until I went to GOTR last year, my favorite concert experience was Tori Amos at the Paramount Theater in Cedar Rapids in 1996.  Yes, it was that amazing of a concert to hold top place for 16 years but I’m more than happy to now have it in my top 5 list of concerts after my two experiences at GOTR.

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I’d love to go again and can’t wait for next year’s tour.  In fact, I’m ready to go again to the remaining shows in the US this month!  If you happen to have extra tickets for the Guthrie or Simcoe show, feel free to send them my way. 🙂

Completed passport at the end of the GOTR Troy Stopover.

Completed passport at the end of the GOTR Troy Stopover.

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Road Trippin’

There are few things that I love more than a concert, unless it’s traveling.  Combine the two and I’m an extremely happy mom.  This weekend I’m putting the Mom hat away for a few days and traveling to Ohio with my favorite IT guy.  Why Ohio?  It’s one of the stop-overs for the Gentlemen of the Road (GOTR) tour.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see some of my favorite bands: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Old Crowe Medicine Show,  and Mumford and Sons.

Last year my favorite IT guy and I traveled to Dixon, IL for the same tour, with Mumford and Sons headlining.  It’s been over a year since that concert and I’ve been thinking about how amazing the concert was every single week since.  It was seriously the best concert I’ve ever been to.

Beautiful Dixon IL

Beautiful Dixon IL

The highlight of the trip was when we went to a small theater to listen to more live music, after the concert.  We were exhausted, leaning towards falling asleep.  Around 1:30 in the morning who should grace our presence, but Mumford and Sons, playing acoustically!  There were only a few hundred people in this theater and in my mind, was one of the greatest concert moments I’ve ever experienced.  My phone’s battery was long dead, but luckily others in the crowd were able to capture some of the magic.

What’s the best concert experience you’ve ever had?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Fan Photos contest

I just learned of a contest featuring photos taken of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and of course I had to enter.  They are by far one of my favorite bands and I find their music so easy to get lost in.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take photos when they came to Des Moines earlier this Summer.  Here are a few of my submissions:

 

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Which is your favorite?

 

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How I became a Concert Mom

Kiddo at her first concert at 9 months of age.

Kiddo at her first concert at 9 months of age.

*This article was first published in Summer of 2012 Des Moines Music Coalition’s blog and republished this Summer in their updated blog.

When I became a Mom, I knew I wanted to give my child a love of music.  As a child of the Eighties, I was introduced to The Steve Miller Band, CCR, Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and the News, and yes, even The Beach Boys.  As a child, some of my fondest surround around singing in the car with my parents, performing “Heartbreaker” for my Grandmother, and dancing to “Rock around the Clock” with my Aunt.  Unlike many of my peers, I actually enjoyed the music my parents listened to, even if I didn’t always understand the words (I sang Huey Lewis’ “I want a new drug” as “I want a new truck.”)  It seems natural that I would want to pass along an enjoyment of music to my child.

When my daughter was born over four years ago, I knew things would be tough, I knew I would suffer sleepless nights, but did I know that this same child would bring me to love music even more?  No way.  While pregnant I listened to Norah Jones, repeatedly.  It was my go-to de-stress music.  Kiddo ended up spending a few unexpected weeks in intensive care after her birth.  Initially we had to keep a quiet stimulus free room.  Eventually, we were allowed to provide stimulus in her room and decided to play Norah Jones.  The moment Jones’ song Sunrise started to play, kiddo turned her head towards the music.  I cannot begin to express what an extreme act of comfort that was to me, during this period of distress.

Around three months of age, I learned that the Des Moines Metro Opera was having a free family friendly performance of Don Pasquale at the State Historical Museum.  Unsure if we should take a baby to an opera performance, we decided to go for it, figuring we could sneak out if she became fussy.  To our surprise, the baby who, despite our best efforts, wouldn’t stop crying and screaming at home, was completely quiet and filled with wide-eyed wonder during ninety-percent of that performance.  The remaining ten percent was spent napping.   We finally found something that worked to calm our child down.  It was a great day.

Watching Don Pasquale was a turning point in our parenting.  If there was a free concert, of any genre, that seemed remotely child friendly, we went.  Then we took kiddo to her first “official” concert, the inaugural 80/35, wearing a pair of shotgun earmuffs to protect her little eardrums.

Since our daughter’s first concert, she has been to many more, probably more concerts than I had been to by the time I had graduated college.  With this in mind, I’d like to share some advice in taking kids to concerts:

  • Don’t be afraid to take your child to a concert.  Ok, you can be a little afraid, but if your kid likes action and excitement, more than likely your child will love the adventure.
  • Bring ear protection.  They may not like it, but they will not like having their ears hurt more.
  • Bring a little toy or sucker along with you to help fight any fussy times.
  • Have a good time.  Children sense when parents are stressed.  If the thought of bringing your child to a ticketed event makes you nervous, take them to smaller free events and work your way on up.
Family photo at the 2012 80/35 Music Festival

Family photo at the 2012 80/35 Music Festival

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