14 Jun 2024

Local rock legends The Bats will perform at Go Live Festival with a setlist spanning more than four decades – including new, unreleased music.

The four-piece group have produced 10 albums with Flying Nun Records, as well as several EPs and singles, since their first official gig together on New Year’s Eve in 1982, says bassist and producer Paul Kean.  

“Prior to The Bats, Robert was with The Clean, Kaye and Malcolm played in Lyndon and the Liars, and I was with Toy Love, which gave us a bit of a head start,” he says.

In the early days – for a decade up until the mid-90s – The Bats toured extensively around Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand. 

Decades of writing, producing and touring together have given them their distinctive style and sound that Kean says was once described by someone as “melodic, indie folk rock with a sardonic, city edge.”

Fans coming to their show at Go Live Festival can expect to hear “mostly upbeat favourites like ‘Made Up In Blue’, ‘Block of Wood’, ‘Rooftops’ – along with a few newbies from album #11 that we recorded at the end of last year.”

Bats By Night video shoot, 1984. From left: Robert Scott, Kaye Woodward, Malcolm Grant and Paul Kean.

The yet-to-be released album features a range of music styles – “from quiet, reflective songs about the ebb and flow of life through to uplifting, rolling rockers and wigged out, rhythmic jams,” Kean says. “Robert writes a lot of great songs that fall broadly in the category of Indie Pop / Rock. We each add our twist and harmonies to them and avoid falling into formulas.”

The album was recorded in Port Chalmers at Chicks, an old stone heritage hotel turned recording studio. 

Kean says the band plans to tour New Zealand and Australia after its release, later this year.

“It’ll be great to try out some of the new songs at Go Live – new music always makes it fun and fresh.

“We’re also looking forward to playing in the James Hay Theatre (Gold Stage), our favourite venue at Christchurch Town Hall.”

The group hopes to catch performances by Loves Ugly Children and Transistors at the festival, and as many of the other acts they can.

“It’s great the way Go Live showcases both emerging and established Christchurch musicians for audiences ranging from devoted fans through to new initiates – and at an amazingly good ticket price.”

Limited early bird tickets are available now at Ticketek for only $25, with second release tickets set at $35 – plus booking fees.

Go Live features 15 acts across four stages at Christchurch Town Hall on Saturday 17 August, from 7pm – 11pm. Learn more about the festival on What’s On.