Just imagine four dudes walking onstage who look like they have been doing this for a while. “This” being Eat Skull performing fuzzy pop corrupted by situations in the city. They are really into using noise as a weapon in the gentlest way. The brave souls who camped out near the stage without ear plugs will definitely be paying for the repercussions later, but many might argue that the pain is well worth the suffering. There is something really awesome about seeing someone sing through clenched teeth, and frontman Rob Ebom pulled that off ferociously. Their heavy, catchy sounds make me wish that someone made a BBQ ordeal out of the entire festivity. The live performance, though not clean, was so enjoyable and raw that one would be insane not to invest another night to act out that angst again. The quick statements made by the band between songs loosened the crowd up enough.
In the realm of influential rock bands from New Zealand, the Bats have held their ground for longer than most fans who attended Tuesday night’s show have been around on this planet. Formed in 1982, the four members have stayed the same up until this point. Robert Scott attributes that to taking regular breaks and pursuing other projects. The band’s label, Flying Nun Records, celebrated their 30th anniversary with the Bats’ latest release of Free All the Monsters in 2011. Members of the Bats have been riding the positive reviews and exposure around the world since, yet staying relaxed and humble. They brought that ambiance into Bunk Bar, and the audience totally fed off of the amazing vibes. While a comfortable atmosphere between the members was to be expected, the collaboration felt like it was always meant to exist. They started playing early, and stayed late for their amazing encore of several songs. Listening to “In the Subway” live could not have been more ideal. The heavy interactions with the audience coupled with the statements spoken about being really happy to be in Portland made for an incredibly positive night. The Bats as a live experience was an overwhelming revel of new sounds, old sounds and warm sounds.