Big Business is a sludgy, hard rock outfit from Washington who got their most recognition with 2007’s awesome Here Come the Waterworks and 2009’s Mind the Drift, both released on Aaron Turner’s Hydra Head Records. Around the same time, Big Business supported The Melvins on multiple tours, both opening for their fellow Washingtonians, and playing as part of the double drummer incarnation of The Melvins. Big Business currently tours as a bass/keyboard and drums two piece though they’ve frequently toured and recorded with a supporting guitarist, including the prolific Toshi Kasai.
After the 2012 demise of Hydra Head Records, Big Business self released 2013’s Battlefields Forever, and though it was a killer record, the group may have underestimated the task of self marketing the album. Between the album’s poor sales and the end of their touring with The Melvins, Big Business’s popularity took a hit but this hasn’t slowed them down and they’ve been releasing a steady stream of tight, experimental albums with just right amount of accessibility. With their strong releases, their rocking live act, and their steady touring their popularity has been exploding, including a recent opening slot for Clutch and an upcoming spot supporting Sleep.
Though Tacoma has always had a rocking live music scene, it has ebbed and flowed from mostly local acts to national touring groups as the city’s venues came and went. When I first started going to shows, smaller live acts were mostly limited to the Hell’s Kitchen venue and a few bars. The area has since been the victim of steady gentrification by people fleeing Seattle’s skyrocketing rents and with this has come an increased demand for live music and the area has been attracting more national touring groups who would have otherwise played Seattle.
Fawcett Hall at Alma Mater is a fairly new, 500 person capacity venue in Tacoma. The space is wedge shaped, centered on the stage, which is surround on top and sides with bare wood panels radiating towards the crowd in a rippling pattern. The effect is to focus all attention on the performance and it really feels like there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Seeing Big Business in this venue was watching them play a home game. Their family and friends were in the crowd and they played like they weren’t going to disappoint. The set felt a bit short at only eight songs but the band was engaged and poured everything they had into their playing. Cody’s drumming was typically jaw dropping; he has a way of emoting exactly what he’s doing to the audience.
Though there were some technical difficulties with the vocal mic during the performance, the sound was great overall. The stage lighting was likewise impressive with deep and dynamic colors.
Big Business is Jarred Warren on bass and keyboards (formerly of hardcore group KARP, AKA Kill All Redneck Pricks) and Coady Willis on drums (originally, and currently, of garage rock group The Murder City Devils.) They are touring in support of their killer new album, The Beast You Are with an upcoming opening shows for Sleep.
See more from Big Business at: