Heads up, New Zealand Flying Nun indie pop fans! We have a real treat coming right up on the horizon. Direct from Christchurch, The Bats are here for a 12-date tour across the U.S., stopping off in Boston at the cozy Great Scott this Sunday (June 2). Not only are The Bats one of the legendary bands from back in those heady ’80s. Along with bands like The Clean, The Chills and The Verlaines, they defined that classic “Flying Nun sound” — pretty, chiming, jangly guitar-based pop music that dances happily around positively dismal lyrics. Love it.
They first came together in 1982, with Robert Scott (who is also in The Clean) on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards, Malcolm Grant (The Builders) on drums, Paul Kean (Toy Love) on bass and Kaye Woodward (Minisnap, along with Grant and Kean) on lead guitar and vocals. And that’s exactly who’s in the band today, which is no small feat. Hugely influential, they released eight studio albums from 1987’s brilliant Daddy’s Highway to 2011’s brilliant Free All The Monsters. And if I was publishing this blog back in 2006, I would have certainly reviewed their show at T.T the Bears Place. But I wasn’t, so all I can say is this: it was awesome. It’s comforting to know that in 30+ years, they haven’t lost any of their warm, quirky Kiwi charm.
Seeing as how they seem to tour the U.S. every 7-10 years (and play about a dozen shows while here), I’d say you probably don’t want to miss this one! Here’s a review of their Cake Shop show in NYC in 2006.
A few words about the first video. It is for the song “Simpletons,” from their Flying Nun release Free All The Monsters. It was directed by Marc Swadel, and filmed in the Christchurch Red Zone following the devastating 2011 earthquake. It’s poignant and heartbreaking, with the Bats’ trademark upbeat sound. While I’m here, a heartfelt shout-out to my dear friend Lizi and her family & friends, whom I had the great pleasure of visiting there back in 2002.