Live Review, 9/4/12: Big Business Brutalizes Bottom of the Hill

Categories: Last Night

Big-Business-Bottom-Of-the_hill.jpg
Big Business at Bottom of the Hill last night.
Big Business
Federation X
Pins of Light
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012
Bottom of the Hill

Better than: Being in labor (or so I've heard...)

When Jared Warren and Coady Willis started sludge-rock band Big Business in the mid-2000s, there was a growing movement based around a really good idea: 1) start as small of a band as possible, 2) define your thing, 3) add members later. It's a challenge when you're trying to create a lot of heft like these guys do, but as their duo brothers in OM realized, two can be the heaviest number.

Not all of those bands fared well with step three, however. Hella seem to have imploded after expanding to a quartet (and are planning to reunite as a duo) and OM, while certainly a lush and thoughtful ensemble, are not quite the thunderous prospect they once were. Tonight, Big Business is a trio, and we're quite curious how well the expansion suits them.

Local burl-meisters Pins of Light began the evening with an auspicious and powerful set. Theirs is a particular breed of band, seemingly designed to open for nationally touring acts. That is not meant as a pejorative assessment. For the most part, they provided a focused, energetic preamble to the evening, if a forgettable one.

On to Federation X, who trafficked in the kind of middling libidinal high-octane rock that doesn't clear rooms so much as it slowly fills patios. Not bad, not great -- such seemed to be the general consensus.

Big Business wasted no time reminding the audience what the first two acts lacked: personality. There's something so animated and fun about what they're doing that one can't help but be carried along on tides of riff-filled manna. The only potential qualm is the lack of articulation in Warren's stunningly loud bass and the manner in which it threatened to overshadow everything else charming about Big Business. On record, the addition of guitar adds colors to a sufficiently dense sound. Live, it tends to get lost. In addition to the lack of Scott Martin's seemingly lovely guitar textures, Warren's vocals were often hard to discern, given little prominence in the live mix. He's such an interesting and forceful vocalist, it would've been nice to hear him a bit better.


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Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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