Eliza Battle
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Eliza Battle

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Americana Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Five Questions with Nick Shelton of Eliza Battle"

Eliza Battle has already made big waves in Vegas, despite only being together for a short time. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Single Mothers Radar Vs Wolf and Chain And The Gang and in just a few days, they’ll play to their biggest audience yet on the mainstage of Punk Rock Bowling. So before they rock out with Refused, we decided it was time to sit frontman Nick Shelton down for five questions.

Hi Nick! Let’s start with your background. You moved here from Chicago a few years ago, so I don’t know much about your musical history prior to Eliza Battle. How did you become interested in playing the guitar? Can you talk a little bit about the first band you were in?

For sure. I played piano for my entire childhood, but after realizing that I practiced all year just to be able to play other people’s music at a recital, I changed to guitar. I only had interest in writing from the get-go, and to this day, struggle to play cover songs.

My first band that gigged was called Tarnish. We played around the Chicago suburbs, and had a handful of shows in the city. I thought we were doing sort of a Quicksand/Helmet/Deftones kinda thing, but apparently the rest of the band (and the crowds) thought we were a nu metal band. We met with a handful of major labels, but nothing came out of it.

I played around Chicago in a few different indie rock and hardcore bands, most notably The Pullman Strike. A lot of the songs Eliza Battle plays were written during that band’s brief existence. After all our gear was stolen on tour in Detroit, I hung up the guitar. 5 years later, it seemed like the right thing to do again in a new city.

How did Eliza Battle come together and how did you settle on that name? I remember you saying Chris Bitonti was originally set to play guitar but had to fill in on bass, but now you have Sal Giordano (TheCore., No Red Alice) playing bass at Punk Rock Bowling. How did Sal get involved with the band, and is he going to be an official member of EB or is this a one-off gig?

I met Chris Bitonti at Punk Rock Bowling 3 years ago, and we kept in touch. [Nashville-based indie rock band] Radar Vs Wolf was coming to town last November, playing at the Beauty Bar, and asked Chris to help set up a show. He called me and asked if I wanted to get a project together to open for them, and it just felt right. He played with Chris Berg in Save the Hero, and he was looking for a new project. We kinda lucked out.

We are really influenced by Southern Gothic lore. My songs come from the viewpoint of someone who grew up on Cormac McCarthy books and Alkaline Trio, Lucero and Whiskeytown records. I know I wanted sort of a dark Southern inspired name. The Eliza Battle was a steamboat that burned and sank in the Tombigbee River in Alabama, and the locals claim she returns as a flaming ghost ship.

I love the name and the imagery that comes with it, but to be honest, I wish we researched it better. There was a metalcore band in Vegas called The Eliza Battle at some point before I lived here. That has led to a little confusion, but they haven’t been active for some time, and the PRB exposure has helped.

Chris was always supposed to play guitar in this band, and he did play all the leads on the 7″. We just really had a hard time finding a bass player. Everyone knows Sal Giordano, and after we played with his solo project No Red Alice at their tour kick off show with Mercy Music, we thought it would be cool to play with him in the band. We definitely consider him an official member of EB, and are happy to have him on board.

You have a few months of playing in Vegas under your belt, and a few years on top of that attending shows here so I’ve gotta ask – how does the Vegas punk scene compare to the one in Chicago? What sticks out as something we have that Chicago doesn’t? Do you prefer playing 21+ or all ages?

Pros and Cons in both cities for sure.

Chicago is huge and has put out so many successful bands. That Chicago Alk3/Larry Arms/Smoking Popes/Cheap Trick influence is deep in my veins and will always be a part of whatever music I am playing. I have great friends in The Sky We Scrape, Gunner’s Daughter and Quiet Car doing awesome things there, and I hope to link up with shows somewhere in the middle some time.

The biggest difference between the two is that in Chicago, everyone you know is in a band. The local openers are always different on touring acts, and there are way more places to play 18+ or all ages shows. Compared to Chicago, there are only a handful of places to play here, but there is also way less competition. There are less bands and the scene is smaller. but tighter-knit and more supportive of each other. We feel like water raises all boats, when local bands are successful it shines a light on what we all are doing and increased exposure is a benefit to everyone.

Because it is a smaller community, a lot of times we work against ourselves by scheduling multiple local punk shows on the same night. I think we need to work together to go to each other’s shows and not compete against each other. Vegas is a hard drawing town. We should be working together to get kids interested in local music. That’s why PunksInVegas is such a massive resource for all of us.

I’m kinda old now. I love playing all ages shows for sure, but the songs I write come from a decade of working in dive bars and casino graveshifts. I might be able to better connect with a crowd that understand what I am singing about. I don’t have a good answer for this. How about an all ages show with a bar?

This is your first time playing Punk Rock Bowling, but I know you’ve attended in the past. Do you have a favorite set or memory from a past PRB? What do you like about PRB and who are you most looking forward to seeing this year?

Well meeting Chris is the high point. Without that moment, there would be no Eliza Battle.

Musically, that Laura Jane Grace surprise set a couple years ago was aces. Tim Barry playing on the floor at Beauty Bar for sure. Seeing Hot Water Music right after Exister came out was a lot of fun as well.

This year, my heart might explode at that Frank Turner/Laura Jane Grace club show. I’m gonna have to remember I’m singing the next day, so I don’t blow my voice out singing along with those two. I’ve never seen Refused, but The Shape of Punk to Come changed a lot of things for me, and I cant wait.

Notably though, this year has a ton of great local bands lined-up too, on the main stage there is Sounds of Threat and Battle Born, plus Mercy Music, Franks and Deans, Anti-Vision and False Cause are all playing club shows. It is really meaningful that the Sterns make a point to provide exposure to the deep rooted punk community throughout the region for local and emerging acts and we’re so grateful for the opportunity.

You just announced the debut 7” for Eliza Battle. Can you give us some info on it? Who did you record with, when is it coming out and are your self-releasing or do you have a label in mind? Who played what on the release? Do you have some touring planned to support it?

Yeah! It has 2 songs. The single is “Cheers to That.” “Ain’t Ready Yet” is on the b-side. I think between the 2 songs it shows a lot of what it is that we do. We hope people dig it.

This is actually the first release by Open Town records, which is a label that Bitonti and I started. We don’t have a ton of plans for it yet, but hope to have the opportunity to work with other rad regional bands soon.

I played all rhythm guitars and keys, and sang. Bitonti played bass and lead guitar. Chris Berg played drums. Local singer Tina Dawn provided backing vocals. She was last seen in Vegas performing as the green fairy in Absinthe. She is a huge vocal talent, and just got back from a 6 month traveling singing gig to join us on stage at Punk Rock Bowling.

We do have some regional touring planned. We are currently booking California and Arizona dates for August. Our record release show will be at Vinyl at Hard Rock Casino on Wednesday Aug 19 with Alex and His Meal Ticket and Lawn Mower Death Riders. Tickets will be available for that online soon.

Thanks Nick! You can still buy tickets to see Eliza Battle live at the Punk Rock Bowling website. If you want more Eliza Battle, you can pre-order their 7” on their website. - Punks In Vegas

"Punk Rock Bowling Music Festival: Day Two"

In an era of music-festival overload, Punk Rock Bowling stands out. What began 17 years ago as a Vegas party for the punk-rock industry has evolved into a full-on concert happening, yet it remains true to the vision of its early years—a celebration of outsider culture and the sound that unites its supporters.

Punk Rock Bowling isn’t like the other festivals that have popped up around Southern Nevada over the past decade. Its fenced-in Downtown lot has just one stage, which means there are actual live-music-less breaks between sets. It focuses on one genre, in all its permutations; no DJs, rappers or pop singers on this bill. And it’s relatively cheap—$45 got you nine bands on Sunday.

That’s the day I circled weeks ago for my 2015 PRB visit, largely for its top two acts, Sweden’s Refused and Seattle’s Murder City Devils, but also for the quality and depth of its day-long schedule. On paper, it promised to be a study in the many ways “punk rock” has been interpreted, and I wondered how the fest’s core crowd, which has tended to favor California stalwarts like NOFX, Rancid and the Descendents over the years, would react.

17th Annual Punk Rock Bowling

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After rootsy Vegas quintet Eliza Battle (disclosure: Weekly contributor Chris Bitonti is the band’s guitarist) and Fat Wreck Chords five-piece Get Dead got things started, rising New Orleans hardcore four-piece Pears put together the day’s most intense half-hour. Bare-chested frontman Zach Quinn provided violent vocals and ferocious energy, while the three instrumentalists kept it fast and noisy behind him. File under bands to watch closely.

Half an hour later, that group’s guitarist, Brian Pretus, was back onstage, to propose marriage to his girlfriend during a pause in The Muffs’ performance. She introduced him to their music, he explained, before dropping to his knees to pop the question. She said yes, but in true Punk Rock Bowling style, kept a beer in hand the entire time. Also, The Muffs still sound great, with Kim Shattuck’s shriek in prime form some 25 years after she first unleashed it on record. Bonus: The LA band played its Clueless¬-made-famous cover of “Kids in America,” which bassist Ronnie Barnett said only recently got added to the live repertoire.

A solid set from Massachusetts melodic-hardcore quintet A Wilhelm Scream followed, and then the crowd swelled noticeably for the arrival of the day’s most iconic name: Jello Biafra. The 56-year-old punk patriarch brought his typically manic, theatrical presence to the party, along with blasts of scathing social commentary between songs. Though he performed with his 7-year-old current band, the Guantanamo School of Medicine, he reached back for a few Dead Kennedys gems, inspiring Sunday’s two biggest circle pits with “California Über Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia.” Even more sizzling was “Nazi P*nks Fuck Off!” delivered by Biafra in a “F*ck the Tea Party” T-shirt.

Turbonegro Photo: Steve Marcus

The next band, Norway’s Turbonegro, wasn’t technically one of the three-day fest’s top-line headliners, but you’d never know it counting costumes in the crowd. Denim “Turbojugend” (Turbo Youth fan club) jackets were everywhere, and as 8 p.m. approached their wearers assembled close to the stage. I hadn’t seen the sailor-hatted glam-punk troupe since longtime frontman Hank von Helvete left in 2010, and I’m happy to report that new singer Tony Sylvester has the panache to carry on Turbo’s strange tradition fusing silliness (“This is a song about pizza”) with serious chops.

Rain began to fall around the time Murder City Devils launched into their first Las Vegas set in 15 years, and from the start singer Spencer Moody and his mates sounded determined to prove their clamorous garage-punk could be just as forceful as the day’s more famous fare. Piercing guitars and haunting organ were met by the rhythm section’s relentless throb and Moody’s sinister vocals, and it seemed nothing could halt their assault. Until lightning struck.

Murder City Devils Photo: Steve Marcus
Murder City Devils

As the weather worsened and zigzagging streaks occasionally flashed across the sky, fest organizers stopped the show, announcing that it would continue once they were satisfied the lightning wouldn’t come closer. It didn’t, and Murder City Devils returned after about 30 minutes to finish their set. The second half wasn’t quite as riveting as the first—its tough to recapture that type of fervor after sitting backstage for a while—but it came close enough to merit certain consideration for my eventual best-of-2015 concert ballot.

And then it was time for Refused, perhaps the most unexpected headliner in Punk Rock Bowling history—partly because few ever thought the Swedes would return after breaking up in 1998 (they started playing live again in 2012 and are set to release a new album next month), and partly because the band, which has played Coachella and FYF since reuniting, feels a smidge too experimental musically to be a true PRB fit.

But such is the beauty of Punk Rock Bowling. Even if Sunday wasn’t as packed as the Rancid-anchored Saturday, Refused and its fans ultimately meshed well with the fest’s aesthetic. On classic songs from masterwork The Shape of Punk to Come (“Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine,” “Liberation Frequency,” “New Noise”) and new tunes “Elektra” and “Françafrique,” metallic guitar riffs and Dennis Lyxzen’s hardcore screams were greeted with fist pumps and sing-alongs from apparent longtime listeners, and I’m certain Refused gained lots of new devotees by the time it finished just before midnight. The band left without encoring, ’cause hey, punk rock. - Las Vegas Weekly Magazine


Cheers to ThatDebut 7", released July 2015



Emerging from the ashes of a bunch of shitty bands that no one cares about, Nick Shelton (guitar and vocals), Chris Bitonti (lead guitar) and Chris Berg (drums) and Sal Giordano (bass) formed Eliza Battle through their shared passion for outlaw country, southern Gothic lore and punk rock. Not long after, the band added Tina Dawn's harmonies to complete their outfit. "I didn't want to start a country band with a bunch of country artists," explains Shelton "I wanted to start a country band with a bunch of former punk and hardcore musicians who loved country music." It's this unorthodox background that gives Eliza Battle their unique sound, described as Midwestern roots, Southern spirit and Las Vegas flash. The band successfully combines the American tradition of storytelling with and aggressive guitar attack and driving drums.

Rising quickly through ranks of the Las Vegas music community, highlights from the band's banner first year include landing a spot on the main stage of the Punk Rock Bowling Music Festival, performing at the Squidhat Records showcase and sharing bills with national bands including Single Mothers, The Dirty Nil and Chain and the Gang. Eliza Battle has big plans for summer 2015, they'll be releasing a debut 7" Cheers to That and supporting it with The Maiden Voyage Tour August 13-24. Full details and tour dates at ElizaBattle.com.

Band Members