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Joshua Batten. ‘Learn to Live Again’ Album Launch. Melbourne Fringe Festival. MC Showroom, Prahran
Review: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne

On October 3rd this year Melbourne-based singer songwriter Joshua Batten released his ambitious second album Learn to Live Again, a very personal tale of living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the influence that the pandemic lockdowns had on his state of mind. Mixing his love of progressive rock, concept albums, slick guitar licks, grand instrumentation and well constructed songs, Joshua combined it all into the album he’d always longed to make. With the help of producer Sean O’Sullivan, Learn To Live Again became an epic album and one that Joshua should be proud of.

Joshua has used the 2022 Melbourne Fringe Festival to launch his album, putting together a wonderful theatre-style show presenting a truncated version of the album. Featuring Ayden Gadsden on guitars, bass and backing vocals, Franca Locandro on keyboards, tambourine and backing vocals, and Joshua on guitars, piano and lead vocals, the trio does a wonderful job of bringing the lush sounds of the album to life.

The small intimate setting of Prahran’s MC Showroom is actually an ideal venue to present Joshua’s opus, where attendees have no choice but to sit quietly, listen and take in Joshua’s story and innermost thoughts.

Before a note was played, Joshua asked the audience to think back to the first week of March 2020 when the pandemic and the curfews and lockdowns first took us by surprise.
“Within a couple of weeks we were all stuck at home with nothing but time and questions,” he said. “How did you feel? What questions did you have? Were you stressed, anxious? Did you feel like you absolutely had to know what was going to happen next? That’s how I feel every day! That’s how I’ve been feeling my whole life,” he said as he began to relate to us all the many  hurdles that his autism has presented in his life. Fittingly, these shows occurred during the World Health Organisation’s World Mental Health week.

Ultimately the album (and show) is about triumph and hope. As Joshua explains, the pandemic taught him to be thankful for the positives in his life and how he learned not to dwell on his fears. As the album title suggests, it taught him how to ‘learn to live again’, a message we can all take solace from.

Having seen Joshua perform now over many years, the album launch showed how much he has developed as performer. His vocals are now much richer, his guitar licks are polished and more than anything, his songwriting skills have come a long way.

The stage sound tonight, provided by Jason Ng was immaculate, perfectly complementing Joshua’s heartfelt songs and vocal delivery. Clearly, Joshua has placed his heart and soul into these performances, the show was well-rehearsed and the musicianship flawless.

Joshua Batten and band return to the MC Showroom tonight (October 15) and tomorrow night (October 16). Tickets available from

If you can’t make it to a show, then please check out Joshua’s album Learn to Live Again.

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