It was a lukewarm southern night in Athens, GA, in the waning months of 2007. As a senior in college, there was nothing better for me to do than to go out drinking. As we were walking the streets of downtown, me nursing my emerging buzz, someone suggested we check out what was going on at the old Tasty World.
We strolled in to the sound of banging piano and the sight of banging hair. I dug; therefore, I immediately took a shot of whiskey and dove headfirst into J Roddy Walston and the Business.
Fast forward to Thursday, October 10, 2013. There were far better things for me to be doing than to go out drinking. But J Roddy was in town, and that calls for a celebration. I made sure to arrive early to catch my fellow Georgia natives, Gringo Star, open the show. Reminiscent of The Kinks, Gringo pulled out catchy pop song after catchy pop song, each having its own edginess to give it a defining presence. The band was missing that one song, though. What I mean is a tune that immediately grabs the audience’s attention and leaves a lasting impression – an essential for any band trying to springboard its career via support-slot touring. With all that being said, keep an eye out for these guys. There is a lot of noise to be made in their future.
“Where did all of you people come from?”, J Roddy asked as the band took the stage. He went on to explain that the last time The Business was in San Francisco the show was held at Café Du Nord in front of about five people. On this night, The Independent held at least 50 times that number. And to answer your question, J Roddy, we came from the place where people yearn for a raucous live show backed up by inspired songwriting.
And raucous it was. Just as in Athens years before, we enjoyed 60 minutes of banging hair and banging piano – specifically on J Roddy’s Yamaha CP-60 piano. For all of you unfamiliar with this model, it is a full-on upright (and stringed) piano weighing upwards of 150 pounds. Once asked why he chooses to lug this piece of gear on tour, J Roddy responded, “I don’t play keyboards – I play piano. It’s not like you’ll tell a guitar player to play keytar.”
You could feel the energy on the sidewalk after the show. Everyone left the venue happy, and most likely intoxicated, this past Thursday night. J Roddy Walston and the Business is just as much a caress on the cheek as it is a punch in the face. The band is able to produce balls-to-the-wall rock and roll without sacrificing songwriting. Quite simply, these guys play damn fine American music, and any damn fine American needs to go support their live show.