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Yardstock in Backyards/ Whalehammer Reunion Show at Rosemount 21 March 2015

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Yardstock in Backyards/ Whalehammer Reunion Show at Rosemount 21 March 2015

Andrew Ryan

in my dream a boy was playing piano. some classical piece recorded on old paper and he looked sideways up at me as he played. a tiny boy. and he added in notes in between all the phrases, heaps of notes. we were making this music together, this tiny dream child and i.

i did recording a few weeks ago, sitting at pianos, sitting at organs, sitting in a little wooden room with big headphones covering me, with leonie’s and cosi’s tshirts on me for luck, with leaves and flowers and seedpods hidden around for luck. who even makes music? we all do. everyone was there, playing through me. i was someone else’s dream, all my friends’ dreams, the world’s dreams. and that’s what’s in the special music of my friends – the dreams of the world.

something lame is happening here in the country where we grew. the old people who lived here forever, as much as we can dream forever, are getting moved again, ignored again, beaten down again. some of the old people have gone to an island near where i live. a tiny island in the river of the city. they’ve lit a sacred fire. they’ve set up camp.

we’re going to go there. andrew who runs the record store told me about it last night in between when i was dancing, said saturday nights from now on we’ll go and get people who play music to go and listen to the elders. this is the right kind of way to move in your life, an opening move, a strong and strange move, a move toward strangers.

when people play you can go to a place to prepare yourself for moving the right way through life. some music makes it easy. rupert was playing in his own backyard for yardstock, under the name ‘leaving’. we watched him through the grass, and the grasses and trees played along with him. everything moving. loren and toby tied my legs and arms down to the ground with long grass that was growing up. little bowties of green to hold me there in deep appreciation, my eyes still able to move even though the rest of me was tied, tied to freedom, looking over rupert’s handsome kind face as he sat and played electronic organs.

this was the beginning house of yardstock. all these bands all playing in yards, a tin going round bound for people camping out under trees to protect these big old things that let us breathe but mainly rely on us to stand in front of each other if someone has a big axe. have you ever stood between a tree and an axe? some people call them ‘hippies’ as if it’s an insult, but camping, protecting, singing – these are the things we’re made for.

hmm.

dreamy advice column over.

best thing about yardstock? apart from getting tied with grass and stroked by loren and toby, was when matt brought me a green tea icecream. and seeing the old guard of perth music playing in new bands and being real. they never say ‘we’re such-and-such band!’ at the end of a show, as if the point is that people know and remember their name. they just PLAY for pleasure and maybe even necessity.

this theme was continued at night, when i bailed from yardstock to go the whalehammer reunion show. whalehammer, alzabo, craig mcelhinney, tsvoim, bamodi. everything dark and heavy, everything uplifting. please just look up all these bands. lie on the floor and listen to them. see what happens. nick odell put the show on and it was all people making music in the purest way – music for music. seems crazy to say that, but sometimes there are other factors mixed in. radio play or something? i don’t know, but this was special.

renee sat next to me feeling better by the minute with the dark energy helping her. i closed my eyes and let all the doom fill me with good plans for the world. little nick raised pretend goblets in the air and let his body be washed in it all. hayley beth, who’d played an actually mind blowing show a few weeks before, stood at the back, i imagine her also being drawn inward and backward to the memory of when these type of shows were the ones that always happened.

i remembered whalehammer playing a show in dave egan and nick allbrook’s old sunroom lots of years back. i think me and dave and peter cole’s old band triangles played too, and a set of drums fell down on top of us during the set. whalehammer in my memory were weird, sincere, and great – just dave west and ringham on acoustic guitars. this time it was a billion leads from dave into and out of guitars and keyboards, and steve summerlin back on bass after alzabo, and ringham sometimes down with the others and sometimes up on the drum kit. still weird and great. still purest of pure.

after the show little allbrook played me songs on the keyboard in my room, beautiful new songs, and in between we talked about how great the show was, and jarlmadangah, . i guess it was like my dream in a way – maybe the dream was just a memory. and maybe some of the purest times of music here are just a dreamy memory too. but these dreams only go back 8 years or so, not 40,000 years. so for the next few saturday nights i’m gonna go to the island instead of shows i reckon, and see how those old people are tied to the ground.

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