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Wednesday, December 11

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Transmission
« Spitalfield Remember Right Now at Bottom Lounge on Friday Review: The Field @ The Empty Bottle, 6/5/13 »

Concert Sun Jun 09 2013

Review/Photos: The Bats @ Schubas Tavern 06/09/13

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It has been 19 years since the legendary Kiwi band The Bats have visited Chicago so for many fans this show felt as rare as an eclipse and therefore extremely special. The Bats probably realized this in some way, even though the four New Zealanders on stage were nothing but modest and appreciative of Schubas, Laurie's Planet of Sound where they had performed at an earlier in-store, and even the beer from the local brewery Revolution that they liked. They seemed so excited for their sold out audience that they took a picture from the stage. This reviewer/photographer is happy to say that their one hour and forty minute set of 21 songs did not disappoint. The timing and interplay vocally and musically of the four piece was exceptional throughout the night and it was impossible deny the sense of wonder we all felt, old and new fans alike to witness these songs come to life in front of our very eyes and ears.

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It seems impossible that the amazing New Zealand record label, Flying Nun, could be as great without such an important band like The Bats. There is something quite special and nostalgic about listening to their super melodic tracks that bring about a consistently honest and energetic approach to music across their 8 full length albums. The Bats aren't trying to impress anyone and that makes them seem more real and listenable in a way that many bands starting out today simply aren't.

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There was also an undeniable comfort on stage across the four band members both in-between songs and during each song amongst both the vocals and the instrumentation. Though lead singer and guitarist Robert Scott had the lyrics for each song written down on sheets, it seemed like the songs had become quite a part of the group without it and that they hadn't misses a beat or were in danger of forgetting any of the tracks within their great body of work. In fact, the songs came off as if they had been playing them with ease every day even though some songs were definitely from newer releases.

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The band also did a great job in terms of playing songs from throughout their career, spanning a whopping 25 years + of greatness. Though they've garnered some recent press with the re-release of their first two releases (one of which that came out this year on Record Store Day, 1984's By Night), it was easy to tell that there were many audience members who had experienced some peak lifelong memories listening to their songs for a decade or two. And, though some might say that music affects you more when you're young, it's easy to believe any newcomer there to hear the Bats for the first time after getting a more recent release or re-release would be touched by the band's accomplished sense of themselves as musicians and how they could make the best out of their songs. It was fantastic to see the sold out crowd that the band clearly deserves. Let's hope they come around sooner next time they tour!

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Setlist:

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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