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Batillus – East Coast tour diary, pt. 1

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Until recently, I may have been the only person to have seen both Batillus and Kowloon Walled City live. Batillus are from New York City, and Kowloon Walled City are from San Francisco. To date, neither has toured much, but I have been itinerant to catch both on home turf. Now these purveyors of heavy are teaming up to give the US East Coast concrete shoes. The tour lasts until October 2. (See dates below.) If you can’t go, Batillus drummer Geoff Summers will fill us in on what happens. – C.L.

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Day One
New York, NY

Half-slept for five hours angled across Fade’s [Kainer, vocalist] four-foot-by-four-foot-square futon last night before begrudgingly hopping in the Batillus-mobile to pick up Kowloon Walled City from JFK. Those guys flew in on the red eye this morning from their base of operations, San Francisco, and now we begin a two-week East Coast tour together. I arrived at the airport a bit early, so I made loops until Scott called me to tell me they were ready to roll, luggage and guitars safely in hand. So I pulled around to the passenger loading zone, but I didn’t see them so I stopped the van and gave Scott a ring. No sooner had I dialed his number than a cop was over at my window asking for my driver’s license. Fuck, day one and I’m gonna get a ticket.

So the Kowloon Walled City (hereafter: KWC) dudes make their way over to the van, introductions are made, stuff is loaded, and we all embark. “We can’t leave yet”, I tell them, “because that cop over there has my license”. Five minutes later the cop finally returns with my license and, with as much attitude as he can muster, gestures to a sign and asks me what it says. Apparently he is illiterate.

“Um, ‘no standing'”, I reply.

“And what are you doing right now?”

“Standing, I suppose”. Because you have my fucking license!

“If I see you over here again, you’ll have a $115 ticket on your hands”.

So, license safely in hand and thankfully ticketless, we haul off towards Lyndhurst, NJ, where KWC is to pick up their rental van.

Batillus – “The Division”

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Several hours later, we reconvene with KWC at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, for the first show of the tour. The show was the first of two for the evening, so it was practically a matinée. We were a little worried that the unusually early nature of the show would limit attendance, but our concerns would prove to be unfounded. The turnout was spectacular, as Boston’s Riff Cannon kicked off festivities with a face-melting set mostly consisting of new material. Check these guys out if you’re not familiar. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Torche and Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind and Kyuss.

We played next, and all I could hear the entire set was Willi’s twin Electric power amps and Sunn Coliseum blasting through three speaker cabinets directly behind me. When Peterson’s rig went silent during “The Division”, I hardly noticed his sound was missing. That’s how massive Willi’s wall of bass rumble is. I played with every ounce of energy I had, in order to match the volume if our guitars, and all in all we played a good set.

KWC hit the stage next, and to say that they were crushingly heavy would be to criminally understate the impact of their riffs. They have a way of manipulating meter and rhythm to add another dimension of weight to their riffing that’s rare in heavy music. And they’re good-humored, as well. At one point, drummer Jeff Fagundes pulled out a slide whistle between songs and Scott was good with the crowd banter, asking things like, “who wants to talk about tone?” and jokingly offering assistance to those with computer programming problems. Their onstage demeanor and general vibe stood in stark contrast to the heavy, serious nature of their music, and it was refreshing.

Tomorrow we head to Boston and the tour really begins.

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Day Three
Boston, MA to Providence, RI

The other night, while discussing our various dietary preferences, we learned that Jason from KWC is an ‘octatarian.’ Which means that he only eats in multiples of eight. “If someone brings me a meal with only seven items,” he explains, “I tell ’em to put some tarragon on that shit.”

Last night, we played to the other bands and a few friends at Great Scott in Allston, MA. I’m guessing the fact that it was Sunday and also that the night previous Great Scott hosted Nachtmystium, Zoroaster, The Atlas Moth, and Dark Castle didn’t help the draw for our show too much. Hopefully we’ll fare better in Providence.

Today, we hopped in AJ from Riff Cannon’s ’69 Camero and met the KWC dudes at Uncle Charlie’s in South Weymouth for breakfast. If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and have their ‘country man’ breakfast. Biscuit topped with sausage, eggs, and sausage gravy with crispy home fries. Doesn’t get much better than that…

The KWC dudes are stand-up bros – it’s gonna be a good two weeks.

To be continued…

— Geoff Summers

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Batillus/Hallowed Butchery split

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Batillus have a new 12″ split with Hallowed Butchery out on Vendetta. For details and ordering info, see here. You can stream Batillus’ tracks and order the split at their Bandcamp. Batillus recently recorded a full-length with Sanford Parker – label and release date TBD.

Kowloon Walled City have a new 12″ split with Fight Amp and Ladder Devils out on Brutal Panda. Their latest full-length, Gambling on the Richter Scale, recently got the vinyl treatment. For ordering information – and free downloads of these records – see here.

Both bands will have these recordings for sale during this tour.

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Remaining dates

09/21 Baltimore, MD – Hexagon w/Oak, Salome, Akris
09/22 Pittsburgh, PA – Garfield Artworks w/Drought, Ancient Shores
09/23 Knoxville, TN – The Pilot Light w/New Brutalism
09/24 Atlanta, GA – Eyedrum – Forward to the Apocalypse Fest (w/Thou, Man Will Destroy Himself, more)
09/25 New Orleans, LA – Koenji House (2608 Magazine @ 3rd) w/Thou
09/26 Baton Rouge, LA – Rachel Haus w/Thou
09/27 Birmingham, AL – Magic City Wholesale w/Black Hole Kids
09/28 Raleigh, NC – DIVEbar Raleigh w/Machete! (free!)
09/29 Chapel Hill, NC – The Reservoir w/Machete! (free!)
09/30 Richmond, VA – Strange Matter w/Lord By Fire
10/01 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/Fight Amp, Ladder Devils (7:30 pm)
10/02 Brooklyn, NY – The Acheron w/Liturgy

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