with Gay Witch Abortion and Lungs
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis
Monday, September 17, 2012
The boys of Big Business are back on tour, back down to a meaty three-piece, and huge and loud as ever. This time they've reached out their sweaty palms to local duo Gay Witch Abortion to act as the opening slot, which was a fitting addition to their uncompromisingly heavy sound that permeated the Triple Rock last night.
Another local act, Lungs, opened the show with straight-ahead doom-tinged material, with the nice surprise of a drummer as lead vocalist. Something about the stomp of the drums added nicely to the vocal growls, as the two guitarists and the bassist filled in with jazz and post-rock inspired riffs as well as the occasional singing section. While entertaining enough as headbang material, the persistent loud-to-quiet back-and-forth got tedious as it became apparent as a consistent pattern. Too often the songs would sound indistinguishable, but bouts of rhythmic trickery and occasional bursts of unexpected energy helped their set at certain moments. Leaning towards doom has the advantage of leaning on volume dynamics in place of songwriting, and Lungs were filling the role well -- but demanded more variety.
When Gay Witch Abortion began their soundcheck, they moved so seamlessly into their set I wasn't entirely sure where the song began. The guitar and drum duo work together almost instinctually, connected by some sort of pull that turns their sporadic explosions of distorted blasts into what can only be described as symphonic chaos. Shawn Walker's flailing, crushing, and precise drumming keeps the squeals from Jesse Bottomley's guitar in check, culminating in what ought to be noise but stays cohesive.
Jesse sings when he feels like it, and the songs with vocals lean towards squalor blues, a louder, crunchier version of the Black Keys. On instrumentals, they're a ballistic spaz-out that flirts with heaviness but manages to maintain an anticipatory high-end bleed to the point of exasperation. Echo effects and squealing feedback become the only distinguishable sound at times, leaving Walker to almost man songs structurally. It's an entertaining blitz of rock, and Jared Warren of Big Business was front row in the audience to take the whole thing in.
As his band took stage shortly thereafter, the theme from Police Academy played in the background, because, you know, why not? Jared informed us all what the song was and then blasted into "Always Never Know When To Quit" from last year's Quadruple Single EP. The set leaned towards newer material, and the set as a whole played with a booming consistency that was as heavy as you'd ever want from a band. Big Business' strength as songwriters edge their unyielding roar ahead of most heavy bands, and every song evokes a musical interest as well as a base need for sound to sock you in the face. Music as intense as this seemed to illicit reactions from the at-times stoic crowd (remember, at metal shows, doing nothing means you're enjoying yourself), and the ocassional mosh pit would break out in the center from some enthusiastic showgoers.
Drummer Coady Willis is an absolute joy to watch kill a drum set, as he meticulously hits in such a way as to make the differentiation between fills and rhythms null. Scott Martin added his extra guitar oomph to Jared's rattling basslines, proving the Big Business sound alone is worth the price of admission. Closer "Guns" ended similarly to how I saw them last: in a wall-of-sound dirge that found Jared and Scott tweaking and garbling their guitars over Coady's clamoring drum solo. This time around, Jared added "Have you heard the good news? He is risen" to the song's simple sing-along lyrics of "Guns are better than everything else," as the spacey drag of the finale closed out the show.
Critic's Bias: I'm a sucker for heavy music.
The Crowd: Packed crowd of metal-heads.
Random Notebook Dump: Jared shared a road story of a night when a Christian metal group opened for Big Business and Gay Witch Abortion, introducing the latter as "up next... a surprise!" He went on to give them kudos on having the name that is the most offensive possible to Christians.
Always Never Know When To Quit
Another 4th of July... Ruined
Start Your Digging
Into the Light (Siouxsie and the Banshees)
Just As The Day Was Dawning