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April 28, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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The Bats Live Review

The Batswith Holiday with Friends and Minisnap,
SFBH, Saturday April 5th

Having spent over 20 years releasing marvellous albums and playing shows worldwide, the Bats definitely deserve their well-recognised spot on the mantelpiece of New Zealand musical history. Saturday’s show was yet another sweet chapter of pop from these Christchurch legends.

Openers Minisnap, who are really just the Bats sans Bob Scott with an added guitarist, played an impressive opening set, delivering tight, catchy pop that got heads bobbing. Kaye Woodward’s voice is the real clincher with Minisnap – a sweetly wafting presence that complements their bright guitar tones and pulsing rhythm section. In terms of musical direction, there isn’t too much to separate Minisnap from the Bats (it’s essentially the same band), not that that’s a bad thing.

Wellington opening-spot stalwarts Holiday with Friends played a tight, cutesy set that provided a nice change in pace from Minisnap and the Bats. These guys have played many, many shows in the last year and a half, and it shows – slip-ups are rare, and the intuition between members is great. However, it could definitely be said that Holiday with Friends are flirting with the dangerous realm of the overplaying band – I’ve seen them about half a dozen times without really meaning to.

The Bats were in great form, with Malcolm Grant’s unrelenting drum stomp and Paul Kean’s bouncy bass lines providing ample room for Bob and Kaye’s colourful guitar work. We were treated to a few new soon-to-be-released tracks, plus a healthy mix of older material. In particular, ‘Courage’ and the handful of songs from recent album At the National Grid really shone. The faster, more energetic numbers ‘Flowers and Trees’ and ‘Horizon’ really got the modest crowd jumping around.

All in all, t’was a decent night of music. The only pity was the fairly underwhelming crowd. Remember, Wellington; Bats fans in the States are pining to be in your place, so you should damn well appreciate it when they tour.

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