Big Business

Right place, right time

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

As a person whose role in the music community is a mostly observational one, I derive a singular and particular joy from being in the right place at the right time.

The most recent example of many: Not long ago, I’d made my way to Portland for a weekend with a group of lady friends, one of which was the Shakedown’s Hollie Huthman. In the lull that followed the frantic spurt of activity that occurs when four girls sharing a hotel room simultaneously attempt to get ready for a night out, Huthman checked her cell phone, and found a text from Scott Martin of the band Big Business.

The text was almost deceptively casual, something along the lines of, “Hey, we want to play a show at your bar. January 25. What do you think?”

And, just like that, a show was born.

While the content of the text was simple, its context was something greater.

Big Business, in case you’re unaware, is a band that is one part Karp and Tight Bros From Way Back When in the form of Jared Warren, one part Murder City Devils in the form of Coady Willis, and one part 400 Blows in the form of the aforementioned Martin. When those parts are added up to form a singular musical whole, what you get is a sound that’s a little sludgy, a little metal and a whole lot like it was born and bred in the Pacific Northwest. As if to further cement their hometown cred (despite the fact that they now call Los Angeles home), when Warren and Willis aren’t playing, recording and touring as Big Business, they’re very busy being full-fledged members of the Melvins. Indeed, during their first tour as Melvins, the two would open the show with a Big Business set before joining King Buzzo and Dale Crover onstage as the Melvins.

None of this, of course, is news to Huthman. Long before she became one of the Shakedown’s owners, her stake in the local music scene was as a photographer, and viewing the world through a camera lens gave her ample opportunity to more finely hone her taste in music as well. As such, when the time came to take ownership of the Shakedown, she came to the job armed with a wish list of bands she’d love to see on her stage. It’s pretty safe to say Big Business was someplace fairly close to the top of that list.

And I can avow with great certainty that the confirmation of the Jan. 25 Big Business show was a long time in coming. Huthman, with a little help from her friends, very nearly had the band pinned down for a show a couple of months ago, before circumstances intervened and the tentative date fell through.

Not this time, however.

But Big Biz isn’t the only band that will bring some serious musical firepower to this effort. Also tapped to play is Sandrider, a band that came to be via two other well-loved Seattle bands, Akimbo and the Ruby Doe. Sandrider wears its loud heritage proudly, and they’ve harnessed it into a live presence that is commanding, to say the least. Joining those two bands will be Bali Girls, a band that got its start and then some in Bellingham, and recently rumbled back to life after a multi-year hiatus.

It is my hope that fate will continue to intervene with regard to placing me in the right spot at the right time, but come Jan. 25, I won’t need fate to tell me exactly where that will be.

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