Bat House drove out of Boston on a stagnant, humid day. A month later, they returned disheveled and sweaty, full of stories and the chips and peach rings that helped countless Midwestern miles roll by. For bands like Bat House, there is no grand tour bus or plush green room waiting for them. Their tours cruise beyond the reach of the marquee lights of stadiums and theaters which host big-name bands. Instead, they exist in another less glamorous world of touring musicians. They pile into a crowded cargo van purchased with loans and band fund fumes, ready to embark on tours they planned and booked themselves. They take time off from whichever coffee and audio jobs that would allow them to vanish onto the road for extended periods, and play in whatever bars and basements that will host little-known Boston bands. By day, they drive from town to town, and by night, they sleep on the floors of friends and strangers. Late in Lowell, MA, Bat House plays, and outside, life on the street continues unaffected. Waiting to meet friends on the other side of Atlanta, GA, Kate and Ally sit parked behind the venue they just played in. With Chicago in the rearview and Davenport, IA in the windscreen, the miles and hours stretch out into the flatness of the Midwest horizon. At the helm of Bat House’s 20-foot van, Ally hunts for parking on the crowded streets of late afternoon Chicago. Talking and bathing in brake light, Kate and Emmet wait in Davenport to be called in for soundcheck. In Chicago, IL, Bat House performs in a conspicuously above-ground bar named Subterranean. After a show in Nashville, TN, the drunken bass player of another band brandishes a cigarette and talks brashly to those seated in the open van. In the yard of a rented Iowa house, fire pit flames lick at Bat House into the small hours of the morning. Reluctant to greet the day after a long night of driving, Kate, Ally and Emmet doze in a Missouri motel room. Full of cold brew and last night’s Taco Bell, Emmet, Kate, and Shane lounge in the late morning grass of an Iowa hillside. At the heart of their sound is a complex psychedelia which serves as a vehicle for the depths of Bat House’s musical ambition. For all their lofty artistic goals, they remain anything but aloof. The band came up in Boston’s underground DIY scene, and the humble, often self-deprecating dirt of their punk roots cuts through the psychedelic haze of their sound with every broken string and drop of blood that rolls down their pickguards. The band’s live performance broadcast an intimate mastery of their craft; an intimacy that drips and oozes from their chipped instruments and tattered amplifiers. An intimacy born of a deep personal understanding between members, and of playing shows night after night for weeks on end. Cruising through rural Iowa, cornfields form walls miles long down the roadside. With Bat House pulled over at one of the many gas stations which break up the monotony of driving, an employee takes a break from her shift. In downtown Atlanta, GA, Shane drives the van down a steep incline into the service entrance of the venue in which Bat House will soon play. A much larger venue than any other on the tour, Atlanta’s Masquerade provides Bat House with the rare luxury of roadies to carry the band’s gear. As the hours between load-in and showtime while away, Kate soaks in the breeze and smoke of late afternoon Chicago. The interpersonal complexities of band life boil over as Kate and Ally quarrel following Bat House’s show in Davenport. In front of a sparse Atlanta, GA crowd, Bat House makes adjustments to their instruments between songs. In the aftermath of the last minute cancellation of that night’s show, Ally has her fortune told in a zodiac themed bar in St. Louis, MO. On stage in Nashville, TN, Bat House plays a loud and feverish set. Since their 2013 inception, the four members of Bat House—Shane Blank, Kate Siefker, Ally Juleen, and Emmet Hayes—have built a small, dedicated following for their music both in and beyond their home base in Boston. Over those six years, Bat House has become central to its members’ lives. The band is a fundamental part of their identities and social lives; it is regularly the basis for which life decisions are made. When they look for a place to live, they do not seek comfort—only a basement to practice in. Above the crowd, a disco ball spins and casts tiles of light over performers and patrons at a bar in Nashville, TN. In a forlorn corner of a Davenport, IA bar, the coat check sits unused and unloved. Signs of industry loom over the flowing tents of a brewery in Athens, GA. When Emmet injured his hand (one of the two he plays bass with, no less) they did not cancel any shows. Instead, he learned his parts on a synth bass that he could play one-handed. When Kate pulled over to smell the rural Indiana night and got the van stuck deep in the mud, the band dug it out with a mixed nuts container lid and built a makeshift path to freedom from spent drum heads. Bat House is its members’ lives, and that life is never better lived than when it is taken on the road and shared with a hungry world. Bat House’s entry into Bloomington, IN marks Kate’s first time back in the town she once called home since leaving for Boston. The experience proved drenched with emotion from all sides. In an Iowa parking lot, Shane enjoys the plethora of space afforded by a brief exit from the confines of the van. As evening wears on behind an Iowa farm supply store, Emmet teaches Kate to change windshield wiper blades. Having recently learned the proper technique, Kate changes windshield wiper blades in an Atlanta alleyway. Following an ill-fated decision to stop along the roadside in rural Indiana, the van is soon found to be stuck deep in the mud. An hour before the show in St. Louis, MO is slated to begin, a wave of disbelief and disappointment travels through the van as news is received that the show has been cancelled. After a long and drunken night in Athens, GA, Bat House stumbles into the home of a friend’s ex-girlfriend, where they arranged to spend the night. With several hours to kill before their show in Atlanta, GA, Bat House crowd together onto the smallest couch in the venue’s green room. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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