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.
In 2018, 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 Albany Friday to headline this sold-out show at the Ivy Room, performing songs from their latest effort, The Beast You Are on Joyful Noise Recordings. Released last spring, the 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 presented by the venue and Bay Area promoter Talent Moat, Big Biz will be joined by a local outfit and Valley King Records artist Terry Gross. The trio features the six-string heroics of established local guitarist Phil Manley (Trans Am, the F–king Champs, Life Coach) alongside 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 Your Leader are a synth-focused, electro-punk band from Oakland that features Jake Palladino (guitarist/keyboard player in Pins of Light and Psychic Hit).
Big Business with Terry Gross and Your Leader
Friday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m. $16-$18 (sold out)