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Dear Diary: I.E. Crazy Does Sad By Sad West

Dear Diary: I.E. Crazy Does Sad By Sad West

Wednesday 11th May, 2016 2:16PM

The inaugural run of Australian festival Sad By Sad West took place last month with a strong New Zealand contingent joining the DIY event. With local acts Carb and Carb, i.e crazy, Seth Frightening and Hospital Sports on the line-up for the brand new festival (which took place across both Melbourne and Sydney) we asked i.e. crazy to share with us some details of the experience...

My mum gives us a lift to Auckland airport. I’m 28 but I still have to park awkwardly around two other cars up her driveway because the rego’s about to expire.

Dear Melbourne
I've packed too many skivvies. We are spending the weekend with Matt Faisandier, co-founder of Sonorous Circle. He runs a rehearsal space/studio called Magnet in an ex-mushroom farm in North Coburg. Matt makes me a lot of smoothies with ingredients I can’t pronounce, and takes us up the Dandenong ranges to the William Ricketts Sanctuary. The dank, wet greenery reminds me of home.

We play at the Melbourne leg of Sad by Sad West (a DIY festival of music, art and poetry run by Less Talk Records and poetry collective Subbed In) in Footscray. Local punks tolerate the invasion. I get the shits before every show, dislocated from home it hits new level. I’m reading a book about Coil in the 1980s. It describes a show where Jhonn Balance performs an auto-enema onstage and the promoter spends the next day wiping up his crap from the stage. I consider what kind of first impression I could make, fully aware that I’d be the one wiping up the crap. I watch Seth Frightening’s first show of the tour. It’s twisted and brutally vulnerable - more or less totally out of place among a sea of emo-pop-punk - and I’m awed yet again at his willingness to suck venom from the world’s wounds.

Our second Melbourne show is to a small handful of people, mostly ex-pat NZers doubling as friends. A heartfelt performance from Melbourne act Spike Fuck descends beautifully into a kind of desperate, clinging karaoke that echoes my own evaporating energy. We spend the remainder of the evening drinking Faisandier tea with Matt and our dear friend Orlando Furious.

Dear Canberra

You are a manicured city. Pristine. Every suburb has a signature tree that lines the streets at evenly spaced intervals. Why? Lacklustre HQ, the home and base for the eponymous DIY punk/experimental label, is a dirty, youthful vegan dive. All space is shared - or contested. Hospitality overflows. Cheerfulness is currency. Someone asks about allergies. Why does you want to know? The guy just wants to cook us dinner. We visit your ANZAC memorial late at night, it’s decked with a shrink-wrapped sound system in anticipation of the next week’s memorial ceremony. Kangaroos lurk silhouetted on the hillside before bounding across the carpark. We might as well be on Mars. We play at Lacklustre; an large swarm of young people pack into the lounge. Almost everyone is a uni student. Everyone knows each other. There's an awkwardly long and emotional conversation happening between ex-lovers in the kitchen.

Dear Wollongong

The roads leading to you are long, straight and wide. Everything outside is grey-brown. You are a kind of coastal surf-town, like Tauranga but packed full of alt-bros. I’m the only woman at the show, performing or otherwise. It’s odd. Ben from Less Talk meets us there, and drives us the extra hour or so on to Sydney, where we pile like puppies on the floor for warmth.

Dear Sydney

We’re staying with friends in Marrickville who announce two things: one, they are going camping for the weekend; two, they’re having a baby. Our Sydney leg of Sad by Sad West is at Annandale’s Blackwire Records, a record store-cum-venue run by an incredibly trusting and friendly bearded man named Tom. I encounter the first female sound engineer of the trip. Her name is Justine and she’s wearing a dog collar. Seth and I both perform outside. It pisses down with rain during my set, I get soaked and feel more alive than usual. Seth breaks a string during his and proceeds on an acoustic sans pickup, i.e., actually acoustic. The crowd huddles in to hear. The technical fuck-ups ramp the energy through the roof, it’s a magic moment. Later, I get in an argument with a guy from Wollongong about the cost of living in New Zealand. The Sydney Biennale is on, on our day off we tour Carriageworks and take a boat to Cockatoo Island (an old prison barracks and shipyard). We get to see Samuel Beckett’s 20 minute absurdist “Film”, starring Buster Keaton, and it ruins me for much else.

Our last show is on Anzac Day, a weird early evening thing at the Newtown Social Club. The sound guy is streaming the new Game of Thrones as we arrive. He’s pretty weirded out by our songs, in a good way. Like actually scratching his head. I think he likes it. Nicole from Carb on Carb plays a super vulnerable solo set, her first ever I think. The green room boasts an ice bucket of about 100 Mexican beers. Beer is so expensive in Australia, it feels like Christmas. Beer makes me sick, but today I drink it anyway.

We get up at 5am to find out our flight has been cancelled. We go back to bed, email our bosses at home and book a hotel with a free minibar. I text my mum and tell her not to bother picking us up from the airport.

i.e. crazy at Sad by Sad West - photo by Nicole Gaffney

Maggie Magee enjoying a Tecate, Newtown Social Club, Sydney

Lacklustre HQ, Canberra - photo by James Stutely

Maggie and Seth, Cockatoo Island, Sydney

Blurry kangaroos in a carpark, Canberra

Seth Frightening at Sad by Sad West, Sydney


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