Stacked up like cord wood

I think I’m probably too old to have children, especially 9 or 10 of them, for more than a couple days.Nevertheless, it was a wonderful weekend. NOMO moved through town as part of their 40 city tour. They’ve been up to Canada, down the east coast through Boston,  New York, D.C., Chapel Hill, across to Texas. Dan jumped the tour for two days late last week to fly back to Michigan to take part in a new young composers competition in Detroit and then his sister drove him back here early Saturday morning to pick up with the tour again.

That’s right- his sister. Abby had just successfully been through Misha’s immigration interview with him last week and armed with his green card, he’s free to travel to visit his grandmother and parents and extended family back in Russia for one last time before school starts up for them in August so Abby is taking this opportunity to visit her family, too. She had flown to Ann Arbor on Thursday and so, by mid-morning Saturday I had Abby, two of her high school friends and Dan- but Dan rushed off for the sound check for the afternoon concert at Wicker Park Festival.

I love listening to this band play. They’re just SO good and it’s wonderful watching the band progress with each CD release and tour. Now NOMO has more than just a following; they have a name recognized in music circles. Since the tour began- and with the great reviews- the band has made it into the top five on iTunes twice. It’s pretty common for them to do a live set at the local NPR or jazz music station as they pass through towns along the tour. Lots of times, when I hear them live, I want to nudge someone in the enthusiastic crowd around me and say, “You have no idea how far he’s come from when I sent him to the garage to practice…” Abby says it’s bad enough that I dance without talking to people. She stands far away from me so as to not be associated by accident.

(Dan finds it too hot to tour with hair- rubbing his head reminds me of the first ten months.)

After the concert, every one piled back here for a home cooked meal. There went the Saturday market photos. Two chickens, two loaves of bread, two dozen ear of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cheeses-it was all good. A couple of them crashed instantly never to be seen until morning and the rest catnapped just long enough to get up a second wind and go out until four in the morning-to the local pool hall, late shows of The Dark Knight and, in Dan’s case, a run and then a swim in Lake Michigan. Of course, the mother in me was worried about him being carried off by a seiche in the dark…  We woke up when we heard noise in the wee hours and I went down, saw a bunch of sleeping bodies, locked the doors and went back to bed. A short while later we heard more noise. I had accidentally locked out the last couple of stragglers.

(McCloud would like to go out.)

(You can’t see the two sharing the double bed behind the door.)

(There was a person sleeping on that sofa a minute ago…)

730 was rise and shine with waffles, fruit and bacon for the whole crowd- they had to be in Omaha last night for a show before moving on to Denver, Las Vegas and the west coast. I also packed sandwich wraps and lunch stuff for the entire band and repaired a pair of jeans for the drummer. Halfway through the tour they’re tired and needed a bit of home patching, laundry, clean towels. I love it when they do come and stay- this band has a wonderful personality as a whole and all of the parts- well, they are just exceptional young people. And funny.

The entire band of eight travels, with ALL of their equipment, in a single van. The band packing goes something like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle with only one solution and they have it down pat, with clothing inside drums, headsets draped over hand straps, cymbals under the seats. We couldn’t believe it, but it goes fairly quickly with everyone putting their personal gear in in sequence. And then they’re off.

(Ingrid, on trumpet, jumped tour here in Chicago to go study music in Africa for a couple weeks. That means there was room for the sandwiches and juice I packed.)

Abby and her two friends drove back to Ann Arbor midday- that was too quick, but I was pretty much done with kids by then anyway. She’ll come back alone sometime in the next week to spend a little quality time with her mum.

This morning, while the band was packing up, this was playing on NPRs Weekend Edition. I would love it if you would go and listen because it’s the best way to hear a bit of the music and know what the band is all about. I’m proud.

16 responses to “Stacked up like cord wood

  1. You’re the Band Mom! Cooking and baking and mending and providing couches to sleep on.

    I’ve listened to some NOMO and totally understand why you would find yourself dancing out in public like that. I personally would not be dancing because I would be frozen with self-consciousness. And my girls would also refuse to stand with me.

    Anyway, it sounds like a great (albeit crowded) weekend. Have fun at the zoo today!

  2. Very cool glimpse into your life. I am amazed. I can see how wonderful that chaos would be and how glad I would be when it was over. Loved the sleeping bodies all over your house.

  3. Well, you sound like a proud mama, and indeed you should! Congratulations to your son and his band!

  4. Amazing!
    Sounds like they were in good hands with you as den mother.

  5. What a treat to have such a houseful, vicki. I bet they loved being there and being so well taken care of.

    That npr story is fantastic. I love their homemade instruments of found pieces. The sound is a beautiful melding of traditional with synthesized modern. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do. Truly excellent.

  6. This is all just too cool!! (Except for the part about NOMO starting out as a U of M party band.) Methinks this music would be perfect for hot power yoga class. Even a certain grandma is feelin’ it!

    Your support of your children and their circle of friends is the loveliest thing of all to me!

  7. I just have to find a CD. Borders doesn’t carry them here. Love their sound.

    Dan looks like you!

  8. Thanks for the link to the NPR story – loved the instruments (and photos) made from found stuff. Very cool sound.

    You’re right to be proud!

  9. This was a very cool story. I enjoyed listening to the NPR piece and seeing the musical instruments they have made. I kept hearing a familiar sound and then, realized when they were talking about kalimbas that I have two here that I bought our boys when they were little. Alas, neither chose to go into music like yours. You have every right to be proud. Cool stuff!

  10. WAY cool! I listened to the NPR spot, then checked them out on MySpace…I like their sound. Very original, very energetic. And you got to be the cool mom who hosts the band for the night! (I know, I wouldn’t want to do that too often!)

  11. This is weird – I left a comment last night, or thought I did. The gist of it was, “Cool, I’ll be able to say I heard them playing on the streets of Ann Arbor” and to ask if you’d seen the highly favorable review in the A2 News.

  12. When I was a kid, I used to babysit for this family that had 3 little girls. And after the kids were in bed, I would pick up. Toys and shoes and stacks of books–or I would do dishes and wipe down counters. And it would always strike me, as I put away the things of others, that this clutter, was their life. Their house wasn’t dirty, but lived in. You know? There was evidence of the lives they lived and I could see it all and marvel… like chapters in a book, you could read their lives by the items left out for me to see.

    Anyhow, I remember thinking then… that someday, I would be writing my own chapters. There would be piles of my life in my home and someone coming in would be able to read me clearly because of it.

    Your piles of shoes are so telling.

  13. Rightfully, you are a proud mom. Good for them.

    I’m sending the link to my brother in law, a musician and composer. He lives in Port Townsend, WA and this is like some of his music through the years. He even self published a book of his African folk music that he spent several years working on and composing for one of his bands. He still performs and his current wife plays accordian.

  14. They had a nice review of NOMO’s latest album in a recent Ann Arbor News. Remember, if they ever need a drummer, my nephew is available. Is it true that their last album name was going to wax politica, aka NOMO OBAMA, but other powers intervened?

    Hea, I’m going to try to do that Saturday shopping thing tomorrow. Better late than never, right? I finally have a digital camera to record my booty. Without the camera, it just wouldn’t have been the same. Plum Market here I come . . .

  15. I may be too old to have children in my house for more than a couple of days too, but we do what we have to do, right?

    Actually, what I really want is to be YOUR kid for a couple of days. Nothing is cooler than a mom with a crashpad in the city who cooks bacon and eggs and dances to great music.

  16. I’m too old to have children … full stop!
    there’s a pressy for you on my site and by the way, the green house has been repainted, reglazed and tidied up so it is ready for you to move in to – when are you coming???

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