A Voice Over Sydney
by Rhianna Miles
Louis Baker’s recent show in Marrickville, as he “catapults his voice over Sydney”
Tuesday afternoon is one of those predictable days,
spreading its voice over Sydney in that lazy mid-week kind of way.
Sandwiched into lecture halls, students stifle yawns.
Office car parks slowly empty as a new peak hour dawns.
Traffic jams, bumper to bumper, and buses back to back;
if you were a voice over Sydney you might wonder “what does this Tuesday lack?”
Alas, the answer is hard to find, tucked away in Marrickville.
The shop fronts are all closing now, the main street quiet and still,
but the Tuesday inside LazyBones has only just begun.
A cream Fender guitar and the symmetry of an acoustic one
sit on the stage. Handbags sit on bar stools and stragglers mill around.
The voice of opening act Gazele fills the cosy room with sound.
A few words of welcome, and then Baker’s set begins.
He screams, stabs and serenades. He grooves and he grins.
He twitches to an electrifying pulse as melodies cradle his words.
Silence bookends the songs, some of which the audience have never heard.
Is Tuesday’s voice over Sydney worth interrupting? No he’s not!
The bar tender shakes a martini loudly; I guess he just forgot.
The loop pedal on the carpet helps weave the next song.
“In the…” He has stopped playing, although the loop goes on.
“…morning…” He lifts up his guitar, the vocals growing bolder.
“…night or day…” The strap hangs loosely over his shoulder.
“…on…” It hangs limply by his side. “…top of the mountain…”
Baker places the guitar on its stand, and returns confidant and certain.
The Way just about encapsulates Baker’s set in miniature.
He catapults his voice over Sydney, soaring with the listener;
we’re up on the mountain with him, looking down as a story unfolds;
we’re winding along “the cracks of the path.” Now his Fender he holds.
The song is filled with dabs of colour then tap, the loops reverse.
But the vocals keep their forward march. Verse. Chorus. Verse.
The traffic jams beckoned, and many answered the call,
but Tuesday’s voice over Sydney wasn’t predictable at all.
A unique blend of movement and stillness, loud and soft,
surely even the bar tender can’t have gone home and forgot
the acoustic twangs and pangs, the smooth electric riffs.
The Tuesday inside LazyBones was one not to be missed.