Features

Tour Diary: Sarah Mary Chadwick

As part of the A Low Hum presented A MOVEMENT, SARAH MARY CHADWICK returned home to New Zealand for a number of performances, including solo renditions of material from her previous outfit Batrider. She dispatches here towards the end of the tour. Pics from soundperson James Goldsmith and from Sarah’s mum.


I flew into Wellington and it was stunningly beautiful. All brown and deep tears and creases in the earth filled with this dark green and wind turbines flung across the whole peninsula. I blocked the view of the people beside me by gaping and taking pictures on my iPhone. It was very moving and earthy, it reminded me of [Janet Frame](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JanetFrame) and [Maurice Gee](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MauriceGee) and being connected to the landscape. A woman I have never met picked me up, and a weird feeling crept in like, I know this place and I spent formative years here but I know barely anyone here anymore, it’s like my memories are only mine. I probably annoyed her by being like “I lived there, I worked there, I got drunk there. Blah blah.” We went straight to the venue and I was so tired.

It was the first time playing keyboard for me in NZ and I think it went well. I was playing with Liam Finn for the first two shows so the crowd was varied, lots of grey heads. Fans of his dad? I dunno. He was nice though.

I was staying up in the hills at some beautiful 70’s The Ice Storm-lookin’ house, that apparently was super cheap. Rent is cheap in New Zealand, made me wanna move back. Until I remembered my student loan. It was super lonely and I was so glad I had my best buddy, phoney.

“New Zealanders can be deadpan and difficult.”

NZ is weird, like it’s so nostalgic for me it hurts, I will never (at least not at the moment) be able to be objective about it. When I have been playing shows I have literally been getting choked up and having to pause so I don’t burst out crying like a tween. Gig, gig, bookstore gig, bookstore gig. The bookstore ones were super sad. I was playing old Batrider songs (the song-y ones, not the Deftones-y ones) and it killed me. Saw exactly two people who I really enjoyed catching up with in Wellington, two great women who are interesting and smart and are straight up. Splurged on a secret hotel. Was cold as, it was freezing.


Drove to Palmerston North in a full van with gear in the trailer. Made better friends with two guys I kinda knew, both of them seemed liked legends and I hope we stay pals. They gossiped to me about some Melbourne people (ha, Geoff O’Connor, remind me to tell you who). Bookshop gig in Palmy was quiet but I saw one of my oldest best school friends and we went out after and got drunk. Ouch.

Woke up the next morning at my mate’s aunty’s house with a McDonald’s Coke beside me. Had to get dropped to meet the van and I think I was the only one who felt like dying. Drove seven hours to Auckland, had some good convos, then played at The Wine Cellar. Saw three great friends of mine there which was much needed after the loneliness of Wellington. Slept at my uncle’s, got up when my mum arrived, went and saw my grandma, played at a bookshop in Mt Eden where I caught up with another great old friend, someone who used to send me packages of beads and plastic jewels and Polaroids when he was 16 and I was 21, but who has since grown into a sincere intelligent and handsome 27 year old. That was really nice.


I keep making people promise they will come stay with me and Stef [Crase, Summer Flake]. I hope they do. Some of them are so great, New Zealanders can be deadpan and difficult (Nick Walton, who painted my first [solo album](/releases/2001105) cover, says we have dead eyes), but once you get them being open, it is the freshest and rawest enjoyment, like flowers under frost.

I’ve since been staying with my family, went and visited the epicentre of my pain (dad in Taumarunui) and felt like my chest was getting ripped apart. Staying with mum for two more nights then off down south before back to Melb. Playing with a pretty legendary NZ band called Xanadu and also with The Shocking Pinks – Nick Hart was one of the guys I’ve been travelling with, good convos.

Wah! It’s been ups and downs. Travelling alone is great if you wanna feel emotional and over stimulated. Im actually having a memorable time. I’ll know if it was fun after it’s over.




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####Sarah Mary Chadwick’s second solo LP ‘9 Classic Tracks’ is our Friday March 27 through Rice Is Nice. Sarah will be performing a Polyester Records instore on April 10; at Golden Age Cinema Surry Hills on May 28; a Repressed Records instore May 29; and a headline show at The Gasometer on June 4.