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SICK IN BED and BIG SPLASH SEMI-FINAL #1, KIND OF, with a hint of EPIC OF THE POSSUM

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

SICK IN BED and BIG SPLASH SEMI-FINAL #1, KIND OF, with a hint of EPIC OF THE POSSUM

Andrew Ryan

Hey. I’ve been sick in bed, but that’s been one of the best things to happen in the last week. I confined myself to my bed. But my mind was not confined. I decided to leave the internet and begin “reading” again. I picked up the Odyssey by Homer. One time when my housemate put her sweet lipsticked face around the doorframe I said “I’m having the BEST TIME. I’m reading the Odyssey, by Homer!” She laughed and her lipsticked mouth said the words “You Nerd!” And my mouth made a smile. As soon as the Odyssey sentence had left my lips I realised it was ridiculous in a way, and I was happy to have said it like that and to have been called “You Nerd!” It’s what I am.

Also while sick I made audio messages and sent them across the desert to the little friend with coloured fingernails, fingernails with drawings in blobs of magic lacquer, and he sent messages back, one entitled “The Epic of the Possum”, where a possum in real life is tiled into the roof which has become his prison instead of his playground. Possum uses the full force of his body and the full crack of his claws to get out, and all the while my little friend sleeps, as seeds are knocked off benches and holes are cracked in bathrooms and kitchens, and in the morning my little friend has to hear the Epic of the Possum from his housemate (no lipstick, but thick-rimmed glasses and a bowl cut). Now it’s been mushed through four brains – the housemate’s, the little friend’s, mine, and yours. Five, if you count the Possum’s. Six if you count god’s. Hundreds and thousands and millions if you count things another way.

Anyway. Clearly the best music I heard this weekend was on Sunday night at the Bird. I missed most of the show, but saw Erasers and Mei Saraswati. These both draw my mind to higher realms, I see visions, I dance, sometimes in my body, sometimes in the greater body you can’t see but is there. But I have written about both these ‘bands’ before, so, onto new things. Bands at the Rosemount who were good, but not as good as Sunday because Mei, and Rupert and Rebecca (Erasers) have all been playing for a long time, have refined their crafts, have gone deeper. Time is relative, but it’s one thing that sometimes counts. Sometimes. It’s not a competition though, music. Comparing one to the other is just helpful because we like to do that as humans to know things in different ways and know ourselves better.

So Friday night I was at the Rosemount for the first semi-final of the Big Splash. This is a competition, but it’s not like other competitions. The main thing I like is the cuddling. Some people in some of the bands come up and cuddle the patron, Maria. This is because she and Andrew meet with the heat winners – they sit together in front of pizzas (maybe) and Andrew tell the bands about gear, advice about playing live, advice about setting up – no creative advice, he tells me, because that’s up to them. And Maria tells the bands business advice, how to use ABNs, how to get managers, many sorts of things (I’m just guessing). The thing is this shows care. And care turns into cuddling, eventually.

So I got to the Rosemount early especially to see Dream Rimmy play. I like getting burgers if George is serving at Flipside and this night he was great on the drums and singing combo. And I like watching Vin and his girlfriend: Vin because he looks like the star of a movie in the nineties and somehow has a magic that draws everyone’s eyes straight to him and yet he deflects this potential stardom at everyone else around, as he’s obviously a star but not an egoist. And his girlfriend Ali who I think writes all the great songs seems like a confident, funny, potty-mouth – that’s how she seems, I haven’t actually heard her talk that way. So anyway the five of them, George, Ali, Vin, Nick, Jack, were surely worth going down for earlier than I planned. It wasn’t perfect but it was excellent and especially the songwriting – all the songs were hits. If you don’t have ‘songs’ you’ve kind of got nothing unless you have men oiled and naked and with glitter all over them. I guess then you have something else… But yes, songs, style, interest, good tones, someone going crazy on the keyboard, double-voice combo – all these things meant “yes” to me. And they have the best/grossest band photo of the moment. A google search might get you to it. (Actually the editor put the photo at the top of this page.)

And then it was Eloise Ashton, clearly who will be able to ‘make it’ if she wants to with a beautiful voice, a nice fringe, and songs upon songs. I mean, songs that matter. It wasn’t the right night for her to play, all noisy and with the bassist’s equipment making bad tones some of the time and all the rest, but you could still see what she can and will be. Puck played and everything was heavy and great with the only problem being the energy dropped each time the drummer sang – some almost imperceptible drop. I guess he was trying to be in two places at once, and almost was, but this night part of him wasn’t able to split down the middle. George was teasing me in my ear “Do you like metal Amber?” as if I don’t like anything heavier than a harp, but honestly, Puck would have been my favourite on a slightly different evening. And then Kitchen People. For me, even though they weren’t the best players and even though whatever else, this was the most authentic band, and so my favourite. It might only have been because the singer was singing in what appeared to be his own accent – as in, his very own voice I think, which to me is just the most serious giveaway of authenticity even though one day I might change my mind – but also they started kind of shit and then picked up as it went on and drew people towards them who were standoffish at first but then were won over. This is all just my opinions, of course, so whatever, but I loved all of these bands, and would have been happy to see any of them eat pizza with Andrew and Maria afterwards, with a tick of competitive approval on their foreheads. The band called Husband I didn’t watch because it was time to leave and amongst other things it had already been a successful evening.

It’s probably a bit strange reading a stranger’s opinion of these bands, unless you’re in the bands and then you might be offended. Like, if I was Eloise Ashton’s bass player, I’d be sad I only got a mention that was about when the tone wasn’t right on the bass amp. And if I were her guitarist and drummer I’d be like “What about us!” But that’s the nature of these things and what I say doesn’t really matter anyway – it’s more what your heart tells you I guess, and this article is mostly about the Epic of the Possum! What a guy!

(If you want to know who “Won”, it was Dream Rimmy and Kitchen People. Grand Final in two weeks at The Bakery! Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/675630269139730/)