When I tell some people that I see Random Bands, they some times say “Oh, how sad.” By Random Band, I mean that by the time I find a kid-friendly venue on the right day at the right time, I don’t ALSO get to be choosy about the band, I have to be happy with whoever happens to be there. I used to think this was sad too, but I have changed my mind.
Before I had kids, I recognized band names in the Austin Chronicle music listings and I saw late shows on a work nights from bands who rocked my world. My favorite live show of all time was Wilco, in 1997, in Portland, Oregon, during the Being There tour. I remember Jeff Tweedy on stage alone, strumming his guitar one string at a time, singing his poetic lyrics soft and clear, while the audience didn’t say a word or even breathe, out of deep respect and awe. Then, in the next instant, the rest of the band turned around to face the audience with a loud and shocking wall of sound, like the most fierce rock-and-roll band that ever was. Then they played Who Were You Thinking Of by the Texas Tornadoes during the encore, one of my favorite songs, that reminded me most of home when I was away from home, and I was sure they played it just for me.
If I compare that show with a Random Band, the Random Band isn’t likely to do well and I’m likely to stay home.
So I don’t compare them.
They aren’t the same thing.
Top 10 reasons to see a Random Band with your kids
10. This is Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World. Even the Random Bands are talented.
9. We can’t all be the rock star, but we can listen and dance and be a part of something unique to our city.
8. Random bands are often from non-mainstream genres that I don’t own a lot of and I don’t hear on the radio, like bluegrass, swing and jazz. It is fun to hear something different.
7. A parent doesn’t get to choose how their kids turn out, but they get to plant seeds. I want to plant a music seed. Maybe my kids will play music later, maybe they will just appreciate it more, but they will have had the experience.
6. AustinKidsDance.com makes it easy, with calendars, maps, pictures and descriptions about weekly live music shows in kid-friendly venues.
5. Kids haven’t learned to be self-conscious when they dance. My kids are so fun to watch, the way they run in circles, wave their arms and jump around.
4. I dance when my kids dance and I can’t help but smile when I dance.
3. Dancing is exercise without even trying and music has no calories.
2. If you are going to eat anyway, and you have a few bucks to tip the band, it is very close to free.
1. When the family dances together, I feel like it might be something my little girls will remember when they are older, and while they will most likely remember something random instead, it is still a pretty cool feeling.
Some times Blue Eyes and I get a baby sitter and we see Wilco. Other times we bring the kids and see a Random Band. As I get older, I find that is the answer, more of the time. It isn’t Wilco OR a Random Band, it is both, some of the time, with more gentle expectations.