SUBURBAN LAWNS live at Lawn Studio, Long Beach, California on this day in 1979. Early LAWNS. 1979 was the year they started making a name for themselves in the LA music scene, playing shows and later releasing the Gidget Goes to Hell single.
The songs and band were still developing, less than a year after forming at California Institute of the Arts. Early shows, like this one, started with older material. Su Tissue joins on vocals about twenty minutes in, performing newer songs which were later recorded for singles and the eponymous 1981 LP. Including the disturbingly slow (in hindsight) "Anything", which was developed to perfection for the album.
This format (half old, half new with Su) was the norm for most of 1979, as explained by the band:
Vex: Those are our best songs and we feel that that is the best arrangements, it kind of builds to something and then is cut out rather abruptly.
Frankie: We had a lot of material before Su started with the band, we don't do very much of it any more...slowly we're developing more and more songs.Slash Vol 2, Number 9, 1979
A glowing review of SUBURBAN LAWNS live from Slash magazine which gives a great impression of the band live in 1979:
Another band that has come out of the shadows this summer is the Long Beach based Suburban Laws, who have obivously decided to strike hard and once and for all impose themselves upon the "scene". Well, as far as this rockin' idiot is concerned, they have. Saw them two or three times recently (once at Club 88 with Brainiacs, twice at the Hong Kong with The Eyes (more on them layer) the Rotters and Spy (nothing on them later) and every time I was blown. They begin competently with fast hard numbers that no would would be ashamed of, the three guitar players alternating on vocals, it rocks in a strident and occasionally dissonant manner, but in no way does it prepare you for what comes soon after. You see, the Subburban Lawns have this Sue Tissue character that soon joins them on keyboards, a very subdued looking girl with long black hair and a predilection for vinyl raincoats and boots. On keyboards she's almost invisible but then she borrows one of the guy's bass and steps up front and thats when you start realizing that this chickie isn't no wallpaper and tha maybe there's more to the band than first meets the eye. Not only does she play that borrowed bass with more nerve and mean rhythm than a funk pro but she spits out her backing vocals in a most unsubdued, unbacking manner. Something like tense abandon, except more so. But it's only a bit later, when she finally decides to do her singing full time, giving back the bass and grabbing the mike stand as a drowning cat claws at a stick you offer it that your lame little heart KNOWS that this here is one of the fuckin' toughest, most unique, most outstanding performing creatures you're ever likely to see and hear, here or anywhere. If this sounds like jive to, buster, check it out and then tell me to my face that girl ain't amazing. She may not be on your list of "in people" yet but you see her once and if you're halfway alive she'll make number 1 and you'll just be another shivering fan before you can spell out Lene Lovich That's a promise. When Sue Tissue sings, nothing else matters. I don't even know if she's got a great voice (their really good single doesn't quite convey what's it's about) or if she's sexy or anything, all I know is that you can't keep your fuckin' eyes off her, so strange is her presence, so surprizing is her way AROUND the songs. It's either the most sarcastic "rock attitude" any performer has ever pulled or a genuine breakthru beyond the countless cliche barriers even the so-called "new" bands are all stumbling on. Check them out, there's more style here than you could use at one go, and, as Ranking Jeffrey always says, style is how you separate the doodlers from the real eople these days. And by style we don't mean posing.Slash Vol 2, Number 8, 1979