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Leafy Suburbs Album Launch, April 3 2014

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Leafy Suburbs Album Launch, April 3 2014

Andrew Ryan

Today while I was in the loo my friend started reading my diary. I couldn’t punch him in the face cos he’s just had some skin cancer taken out of his cheek.

There’s a lesson for you – get your spots checked, and read your friends’ diaries if they are pacifists – what harm can come to you?

Anyway, the diary entry was about Thursday night, so there was nothing juicy in it, just sentimental things.

See, Thursday at the Bird left me with the feeling of “This is like old times,” even though I’m not eighty yet. Jane Harris, real name Jess Hutchens, played, and then Craig McElhinney, before Lyndon whose launch it was as Leafy Suburbs. Jess and Craig were playing back at the time I started playing shows and going to see music, and it was a different time then. It felt different because no-one really thought about “putting out”. No-one of our friends had achieved any particular success outside just making good songs and sounds and playing them to friends. It was like pre-adolescence. Intense, innocent. And yeah, no putting out, just poking around but in a very serious way.

Jess (Jane) played almost the same songs as she was playing years ago, and that was a good thing. She can hardly play guitar, but that’s part of what makes everyone attend so carefully and so quietly when she plays. And over and above that is her voice, which at the smallest nearly couldn’t be heard more than the scuffle of an ant, but at the biggest and highest makes everyone go “OH!” And of course, her songs are the glue of it that stick tiny guitar plucking, magic voice and the whole thing together. When she plays you can’t always make out all the words but you can know exactly the feeling she’s getting at. It’s a sad, small, big, strong feeling, and everyone who’s anyone can feel it.

When Craig played it was old times too. Old times of him pushing things further. Old times of closing ones eyes and honestly being transported to a different place. I saw all kinds of things. Things from the start and end of the universe, things in caves, things in thatched shelters, creation, destruction, all of it. I don’t understand how it happens for music to be powerful in that way, but it can be and was. Casey was standing next to me and I made him close his eyes too. I tried to telepathically draw him into what I was seeing. I don’t know if it worked but at the end of Craig’s set Casey looked kind of opiumy and kind of freaked out all at once, so maybe it did work.

Next was Lyndon. My favourite time of seeing Leafy Suburbs was out the back of our friends Chloe and Alex’s house, when I lay on my back and watched clouds moving across the sky while Lyndon played and when I looked back at the people they’d all started dancing. This time on Thursday wasn’t the best time of seeing his music, even though it was the launch, but it was still great, and the recordings are too beautiful. Well, not too beautiful but just beautiful enough to be wonderful. I’m listening to them now, and I hear them every day on the radio and get that “OH!” feeling of joy, same as when his Spirit Level songs come on.

After the bar closed me, Ben Witt, Lyndon, Sigrid Thornton, Mike the bar owner, and some other acting people were left there. Mike got us to climb up on the roof, so we did – 54 year old Sigrid in her high leather boots and her director and her co-star and their minder and us. I was real scared and had to focus so that the dress I borrowed from my housemate and the duffle coat that was my mothers didn’t get ripped. That duffle coat is fifty years old now, so it’s like old times too, you know.

We sat up there on the city precipice in the early morning, listening to the gentle bragging of the theatre people and then after a while retreated to Uncle Billy’s in Chinatown where we made up new days of the week. DeepFryday. Buntday. Funday. etc. Ben Witt had been on a middle-east political history binge so we dipped in and out of that in between the golden deep fried eggplant and aged soy beans. He kept apologising for bringing the mood down, but me and Lyndon were loving every second of it if communication is 80% non-verbal and I understood things correctly. I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about either of those guys and it felt like being in the company of royalty in a way. And really, if you’re in Chinatown and not getting mortared by warmongers everything’s pretty peachy mood-wise I reckon.

See, nothing juicy. Just nostalgia, including the face of Sigrid Thornton and all the rest of that magical stuff. No punches thrown, no egos blown, just a great DeepFryday in the leafy city.