The Tote in Collingwood could perhaps be the most ‘Melbourne’ venue in Melbourne. Dirty yet hip, loud yet clear, and chaotic yet controlled The Tote constantly attracts the best local bands, and encompasses nearly everything that comes to mind when you think of live music and Melbourne. This past Friday night was no exception with a full house packing out the back band room to see Batpiss launch their upcoming album; Rest in Piss. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to sell out The Tote, Gareth Liddiard, frontman of The Drones and solo songwriter took up a support slot and did not disappoint.
Kicking of the night was local punk lords, Bench Press. Their singlet wearing swagger and energetic vibes went down like a cold sparkling ale and warmed The Tote crowd up nicely. Following Bench Press was Palm Springs, an all female band that were full of emotion, with well constructed tunes and a Camp Cope style both musically, and in terms of their stage presence.
Both Bench Press and Palm Springs were very impressive, however after hearing the crowd roar when Gareth Liddiard casually strolled onto the stage holding a drink, and his guitar, it was evident to see that the majority of the crowd were there for Gareth. He swore, he laughed (sometimes with the crowd and sometimes at the crowd), he called the crowd “evil left-wingers” and he bashed his guitar in a mesmerisingly violent nature. Liddiard even forgot words to some of his own songs, but owing to his cynical fuelled comedic nature he turned what could of been a negative into a hilarious positive by bagging himself out, asking the crowd for the lyrics and playing on. The amount of fun Liddiard seems to have while playing is infectious and it just further adds to his odd originality. There is no-one like Gareth Liddiard except Gareth Liddiard.
Most people may have thought it an odd choice of support act seeing as though Liddiard has an established fan base and an impressive musical career behind him, yet despite this Batpiss were epic and it was clear to see why Gareth Liddiard was such a huge fan and got on board to produce and mix their album. They were raw, aggressive, and loud and they had the crowd moshing and ‘death-pitting’ within the space of one song. While they were full of punk vibes, there was also an element of haunting beauty within some of the slower songs that was refreshing to see while watching a punk band. The sound they managed to create as a three-piece was incredibly impressive, and I highly recommend going to see Batpiss if you ever have the chance. Their new album has had praise heaped on it by important people in the music industry and is well worth a listen. Find out more about Batpiss on their Facebook page here, and find their album on Bandcamp here.