Friday, May 29, 2009

Piking is for pikers

I'm blogging this now, at 11.30pm while BB sleeps and the cats wrestle each other in the loungeroom because I'm not paying them enough attention, because if I don't, the weekend will run away from me and I'll forget to do it later.

I went to the Canberra leg of the Baterz tribute concert; I almost didn't go because I'm pretty tired and felt like piking, but Crit egged me on (one of our friendship glues is a mutual love of Baterz) and so I went. And I'm really, really glad I did.

Baterz was the most amazing... um, I want to say musician, but he was more than that. He died in 2002 in his Jesus year (33) after a long struggle with various illnesses and conditions he'd developed after picking up Hep C from a blood transfusion that he'd needed as a haemophiliac. In that short life he lived with such a capacity for joy and humour and such an articulate insight into society's dark bits that he was a underground (and consequently cult) role model for many, including me. I used to go to his Canberra gigs as often as I could, which was actually fairly often, as he would appear at the Folk Festival, and then do extra gigs, because his family was in Canberra.

Speaking of family, remember how I was rapt about finding The Lighthouse Keepers on eMusic? Well, Juliet, the lead singer of TLK, is the big sister of Baterz, and she was one of the powerhouses behind the tribute show and the tribute CD, Great Big Squiddy Fun. She was up there on stage tonight, singing with the likes of Phil Moriarty (nee Gadflies), Mal Webb and Soursob Bob. It was brilliant. And we all sang along, to every word.

People were asked to tell Baterz stories; a lot of people in the room had Baterz stories, since this is the town in which he grew up, but I think they were fairly shy. I took the chance to ask: At many of his Canberra gigs, there had been a coterie of young lads who were absolute fans. They used to make their own fan t-shirts and hats and sit right up against the stage and sing along adoringly. Whatever happened to them? Are any of them here now?

A person sitting behind me said: One was my friend! He had a Baterz-themed 18th birthday, and we all had to turn up as our favorite Baterz or Bedridden (his band) characters.

How chuffed was I to hear that? I love getting a result.

If you want a piece of the action, or wonder what all the fuss is about, you can buy the Tribute CD that has just been launched. It's called GREAT BIG SQUIDDY FUN and it is a double CD with a bonus extra 3rd CD called BATERZ FOR BEGINNERS and all three are less than $30. You can get it in Canberra at Landspeed Records, probably somewhere cool in other capital cities, or from here (that link is worth clicking for more info on B). If you like a big laugh while you're crying, I highly recommend it.

Gawd, off to bed. I have to get up for the markets in the morning!

POSTSCRIPT: I've spent all day listening to the tribute album with complete enjoyment. I thought it was going to be a bit lumpen -- good-intentioned but amateurish (last night was fun in a very let's-make-it-up-on-the-night way, and I thought it was setting the tone of the recording) -- but I was very happy to discover a really well-produced and fantastically broad interpretation of the wonder of Baterz. Please, if you like alternate fun and weirdness, buy the album. All proceeds go towards re-releasing (and thus keeping alive) both Baterz and The Bedridden recordings, which is a GREAT cause.


fifi said...

How very strange...was a big fan of both lighthouse keepers AND the gadlfies, so you think I would have heard of this guy, but I haven't.
You get up to such a lot of fun stuff.
Good luck at the markets!

Mummy/Crit said...

I'm glad you came too, and had a good time! We didn't get home until midnight, which impressed D no end. It was great fun.

your doorbitch it getting less creative - or warning me of the perils of eating too much ice-cream waist

Ampersand Duck said...

No, Crit, my doorbitch is just pointing out one one of my best features. I like the fact that I actually have a discernable waist, even though the bit just underneath it has gone to pot.

fifi, Baterz had very little to do with either band; I think Jet is a bit of an older older sister, and he definitely had his own independent music life. But he was a talented bugger in a very non-conformist and funny way.

Mummy/Crit said...

Heh (about your waist - I've never had one.) I can't remember how much older Jet is, but at least 4 or 5 years. When I first met Bat she was a big grown up, living in Sydney, playing in bands...

Ampersand Duck said...

Yeah, that's what I was trying to get at in my own way... didn't think she was lots more older (she looks great these days!), but that she was enough older to have kept their musical careers pretty separate.

Anonymous said...

Aaaahhhhh i wish that i had been there, i never sat near the stage, never did a lot of sitting at bedidden or Gadfly gigs.
the good folk at RRR have been talking about a release of the tribute album in a couple of weeks down here in Melbourne, so it is good news that it may already be available.
thanks for reviving some fine memories ampersand duck