Concert Review: The Chills & The Bats -The Powerstation May 14, 2021

To paraphrase a Chills tune, oh how ‘the grains fall through the hourglass”. That old hourglass was put into overdrive last night at The Powerstation as The Chills and The Bats performed together for the first time in over 30 years playing songs that spanned four decades.

I know this is probably starting to sound a bit tired now, but I can’t help but comment on the lovely vibe in place at The PowerStation as these two iconic Flying Nun acts teamed up to entertain a sold-out show.

Purple Pilgrims

PURPLE PILGRIMSBut first we heard from a relatively new FN act. The Purple Pilgrims are a sister act…Clementine and Valentine  Nixon. Let’s face it, with names like that they have to make music. And they do. Described as “dream pop” the two musicians performed tunes from their latest album, Perfumed Earth. And while they may have struggled a bit to be heard above the din of a sell-out crowd ordering drinks and commiserating before the two headliners, they held their own, with a sound that can best be described as “ethereal”.

Ok, now on to The Bats.

The BatsTogether in the same form for nigh on 40 years, the band continues to be: Paul Kean (bass), Kay Woodward (guitar), Malcolm Grant (drums) and Robert Scott (vocals and guitar).

With plenty of material to draw from, they start with Tragedy from their 1987 debut album, Daddy’s Highway.

Instantly we are transported back to a certain place and time (depending on where and who you were when you first heard The Bats.

Simpletons followed with plenty of that classic jangle and strum and harmonies.

Throughout the 45 minute set, The Bats used their instruments and voices like a time machine, playing a total of five tunes from Daddy’s Highway along with selections from Free All The Monsters, Fear Of God and  their most recent, Foothills.

Needless to say, this is a band that knows how to play together and understands their songs. The crowd responded and appreciated accordingly.

And yes, North By North did indeed close the set.

On to The Chills.

The ChillsIt seems a new record label, a bio-doc and new bandmembers have re-invigorated Martin Phillipps and he stood tall and proud in front of this iteration of the band that includes Erica Scally (guitar/violin/keys), Oli Wilson (keys), Callum Hampton (bass & trumpet) and Todd Knudson (drums).

Again, that ol’ time machine was in full use as The Chills dipped repeatedly into their back catalogue with beauties such as Wet Blanket, Kaleidoscope World and Doledrums, alongside songs from their just-released album, Scatterbrain including Destiny and Monolith.

After Kaleidoscope World, Phillips launched into a little speech about “The Night Of The Volcano Demons”…not sure what that was all about, but, hey, it seemed important to him.

After You’re Immortal, a Scatterbrain tune with Callum on trumpet, a cheer went up as those first familiar notes of Pink Frost were played.

The singalong continued with Doledrums and, of course, Heavenly Pop Hit.

I Love My Leather Jacket rocked out to end the set, but they were back with a version of Snapper’s Dark Sensation followed by Rolling Moon and finally finishing on a quiet note with Hourglass.

Yes, it was quite a trip… plenty of sand slipped through that Hourglass as The Chills and The Bats reminded all present what the Flying Nun sound is all about.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view photos by Ivan Karczewski

The Chills
The Bats
Purple Pilgrims

The Bats Set List:

  1. Tragedy
  2. Simpletons
  3. Treason
  4. Trade In Silence
  5. Up To The Sky
  6. Block Of Wood
  7. Two Lines
  8. Field Of Vision
  9. Made Up In Blue
  10. Boogey Man
  11. North By North

The Chills Set List:

  1. Night Of Chill Blue
  2. Bad Sugar
  3. The Male Monster From Id
  4. Wet Blanket
  5. The Oncoming Day
  6. Destiny
  7. Monolith
  8. Kaleidoscope World
  9. You’re Immortal
  10. Pink Frost
  11. Lord Of All I Survey
  12. Doledrums
  13. Little Alien
  14. Heavenly Pop Hit
  15. I Love My Leather Jacket
  16. Dark Sensation
  17. Rolling Moon
  18. Hourglass