BATS - Auntie Annie's, Belfast
Auntie Annies, Belfast
Saturday July 12th
Since the release of their album ‘Red in Tooth & Claw’ back in August 2009 BATS have been tirelessly promoting their frantic mix of science inspired progressive hardcore post punk to anyone willing to listen. Tonight sees Bats delivering the varying and energetic sound of their back catalogue as well as treating us to a preview of some of their new material from forthcoming album The Sleep of Reason due for release in September.
Support comes in the form of Newcastle / Belfast three piece grunge rock outfit The Rupture Dogs, delivering a polished set full of in your face breakdowns and relentless energy that really showcases their hardworking attitude. What they do, they do well, but a lack of variation and intricacy at times leaves you wanting just a bit more from a band who clearly possess the talent to produce better. The slowly multiplying crowd respond well to their sound as the band power through their time, ending in a flurry of noise and passion that certifies their dedication to doing what they love.
As Bats take to the stage it’s instantly obvious that the Dublin 5 piece have honed their craft and put the ground work in where required. There’s far more of a sense of melody and complexity to their material, although it’s occasionally lost during the odd wall of noise moments where the band indulge their hardcore side. Whilst they’re greeted with open arms by the wanting crowd, there’s a noticeable difference between their sound onstage compared to on record. Maybe it’s the P.A, maybe it’s the added energy a live performance brings, but suddenly it’s harder to pick out those moments that make Red in Tooth & Claw such a joy to listen to.
This becomes even more obvious when the band strip things back and enter brief instrumental sections. Here what they achieve so well on record really shines through. It suddenly becomes easier to pick out and enjoy the inherent groove that permeates certain tracks rather than focus on the sheer scale and amplitude of what’s being created on stage. Nobody in the crowd lets this minor flaw stop them from relishing every moment of pure passionate noise that Bats are more than happy to throw in their direction.
New material is greedily consumed and shows a progression in sound, with twiddily guitar riffs and piercing bass presented in a more thought out structure that leaves everyone with ears even more excited for the release of The Sleep of Reason. The night draws to a close, but not before a welcomed encore and committed attempt of crowd surfing by a small group within the slightly sparse crowd. It’s hard to fault Bats’ delivery, but having heard what they can produce in the studio you can’t help but find yourself wishing you were immersed to the same degree in a live setting.