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May 27, 2006 | by  | in Music | [ssba]


A friend of mine called from Melbourne the other day, in a very low frame of mind. Asked what the matter was, he replied “I saw Batrider last night.” “Why so sad then? You love Batrider.” “It just wasn’t the same. The crowd was full of intense art students paying attention to the music. And nobody drunkenly danced like a spastic…It just wasn’t a Batrider gig.”

It’s a problem faced by many a young kiwi band who hop the ditch in search of new (bigger) audiences – they just might not get you in Australia, and your New Zealand faithful might never forgive you for your desertion. Named with that in mind, the ‘You’ll Never Play in Our Town Again’ tour sees Batrider return to Eastside, the setting for many a fantastic gig in times past. Eastside might have changed, but Batrider hasn’t. The energy, the off key melodies and that great punk sensibility you know and love are still there. Thank God.

With Seamus of Connan and the Moccasins fame on drums, Crypt Kicker 3 start the night off and their excellent surf rock is no match for the oppressive emptiness of Mount Street. I know it’s raining, but come on. It’s free!

The same goes for Cherry’s Gemstones, four girls possessed of the strongest lungs in New Zealand. Lovers of snarly girl pop and gloriously nasty feedback alike, even they can’t stir the ‘crowd,’ most of who spend the set dodging in and out in search of a sheltered smoking niche. The crowd has swelled to a respectable size by the time Batrider take the floor, although I’m afraid to say the energy levels are far below anything I’ve come to expect from a Batrider crowd – apart from the faithful up front screaming the lyrics back to Sarah, herself possessed of an hypnotic intensity, mere inches from her face (Joel Cosgrove, I’m looking at you).

‘Number One’ is an early highlight, as is ‘Vulture’ and ‘Santanara’: but anyone who owns their debut album knows that, good as it is, it’s got nothing on a live Batrider set- and tonight’s no exception. It’s all dangerously thumping bass and rhythm with fuzzed up guitars thrown down in haphazard sprawls. All the considerable energy this band can generate is focussed solely on the four metres in front of the stage – the rest of the room might as well not exist, which is just as well, since they don’t really seem bothered. I recognise that Mount St. isn’t the best of venues; but last time I saw Batrider the entire crowd was on their feet screaming love at them.

And to the man who may or may not have stolen my cigarettes: nice touch leaving me just one. You’re mean, you bastard.

Batrider with Cherry’s Gemstones and Crypt Kicker 3
Mount Street Bar and Café, March 23rd


About the Author ()

BORN WITH a cigarette in one hand and The Trial in other, Bea meant to go on as she started. Music wasn’t her first love, but her first love ended in a fight over rightful ownership of a Velvet Underground LP and the kitchen knife, so she chose the kinder option and stuck with it. In her spare time she enjoys casting aspersions, skulking, and making sweeping statements. She never checks her facts: figures it’s a way to live a little, to have arguments with people, then meet them. She’s currently writing a collection of short stories inspired by Schopenhauer’s manifesto of suffering and the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. When it gets published, she’s pretty sure that boy will want to hold her hand.

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