By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the more acclaimed heavy rock bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest since the turn of the millenium, Big Business came together in 2004 when established players Jared Warren (Karp, Tight Bros From Way Back When) and Coady Willis (Murder City Devils, Dead Low Tide) joined forces to create a monstrously loud bass-and-drums duo.
Marked by Warren’s bellowing delivery, Willis’ explosive drumming and their mix of frantic math rock and sludgy metal dirges, Big Business built up a solid national following with a dogged touring schedule and their ferocious 2005 debut album on Hydra Head Records, Head for the Shallows. The duo would come to even greater acclaim when they were invited to become one half of the two-drummer line-up of the mighty Melvins. The pair would relocate from their Washington home to Los Angeles to work more closely with the iconic sludge-metal group.
That version of the band would produce some of the Melvins most indelible work ever with a stunning string of albums — (A) Senile Animal, Nude with Boots and The Bride Screamed Murder — and earned a deserved reputation as an absolute live juggernaut with Willis and Melvins mainstay Dale Crover unleashing a torrential percussive attack. In addition to opening for Melvins on several tours with the line-up, Big Business would expand with the addition of guitarists Toshi Kasai and former 400 Blows member Scott Martin and produce two more pummeling Hydra Head efforts, Here Come the Waterworks and Mind the Drift.
Big Business would establish their own imprint for the release of their first album with Martin, 2013’s Battlefields Forever. The band switched back to a two-piece line-up for its 2015 spring tour supporting Clutch and Mastodon as Martin recovered from nagging health problems and has stuck with that version of the group ever since. The following year, Big Business issued its fifth album and first effort as a duo in a number of years with Command Your Weather on their own Gold Metal Records imprint.
Earlier this year, the duo issued Solid Gold Metal: 2004-2009, a box set compiling their first three out-of-print albums plus songs from three early tour EPs. Big Business returns to San Francisco to headline this show at the Rickshaw Stop on Saturday and perform songs from their latest effort, The Beast You Are on Joyful Noise Recordings. Set for release this week, the new album showcases the duo’s knack for creating punishing yet tuneful anthems (the furious “Bright Grey” and the epic closer “Let Them Grind”) while exploring Warren’s recent interest in synthesizers (the lumbering “Time and Heat” and “Last Family”), nodding to the influence of former collaborators the Melvins as well as futuristic, off-kilter punk pioneers Devo. Tracked in San Francisco at El Studio last November, the new recording may be the duo’s most refined effort yet.
For this show co-presented by the venue and Bay Area promoter Subliminal SF, Big Biz will be joined by not one but two local Valley King Records outfits: Terry Gross and Frisco. The relatively new trio Terry Gross features the six-string heroics of established local guitarist Phil Manley (Trans Am, the F–king Champs, Life Coach) backed by bass player Donny Newenhouse (Film School, Hot Fog, Buffalo Tooth) and drummer Phil Becker (Pins of Light, ex-Triclops! and Lower Forty-Eight). Contrary to what one might expect from a band named after the unflappably calm NPR interviewer, the trio bashes out a heavy, kinetic style of krautrock-influenced groove displayed on their Shameless Imposter EP, a two-song 10″ vinyl disc also released on Valley King.
Openers Frisco is latest band project of a local crew of punk and metal veterans that first came together in 2017. The line-up includes singer Bob McDonald and guitarist Andy Oglesby of sadly defunct SF post-punk outfit Hank IV, ex-Acid King/Altamont drummer Joey Osbourne and former Lost Goat guitarist Eric Peterson with bassist Jason Ricci rounding out the quintet.
Taking a decidedly different direction than one might expect of a band featuring a pair of heavyweight metal musicians, Frisco explores a hard-swinging style of knotty noise punk topped by McDonald’s tuneful, manic vocals that split the difference between PiL-era John Lydon and the lurching unpredictability of the aforementioned Yow. The band plays tunes from its recently released debut album Love Songs for Phantom Limbs. DJ Bad Jew (aka Subliminal SF honcho Mikey Madfes) plays tunes before and between bands.
Big Business with Terry Gross and Frisco
Saturday, April 13, 9 p.m. $15
The Rickshaw Stop