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Big Business + Whores. @ Mama Roux’s, Digbeth – 4 April 2017

Two phenomenal live bands…

Words by Jason Guest

I like Whores.. There, I’ve said it. And I especially like how loud, abrasive and angry Whores. are. What surprises me is how guitarist/vocalist Christian Lembach makes a Fender Telecaster sound like it does. An instrument more commonly associated with country, blues and rock ‘n roll, playing it through a bunch of distortion, fuzz and overdrive boxes before being plugged into a mountain of Marshall stacks with speakers ripped apart by the sheer brutality of the guitar tone does much to mangle its gentle reputation. But I s’pose having to match Casey Maxwell’s murderous bass sound necessitates such an uncompromisingly sharp and bludgeoning approach.

As if the stringed instruments aren’t enough to bring the marvellous Mama Roux’s to a standstill, behind the kit sits Donnie Adkinson, the beaten and beating heart of this very noisy noise rock trio. And cutting through and compounding the stripped back, riff-driven pounding, Lembach’s lyrics are as acerbic as they are acidic (take a taste on Bandcamp here and here). Stick these three together on stage and while heads bang, the walls tremble. And that’s not just down to the music alone. It’s because the two string ruiners hurl themselves around the stage like a psychotic Status Quo.

With an audience spent after such a pleasing performances by the three Whores., only duo Big Business could follow them this evening and be even bigger. Last year’s Command Your Weather (reviewed here) is nothing less than outstanding. What this two do with just bass, drums and vocals is fantastic. No doubt guitarists the world over are shitting themselves as their much-mocked (you know all the jokes) and often-overlooked bassist hears bands such as Big Business and promptly pays a visit to the music store to spend a not inconsiderable amount of time in the effects pedal department. And on stage, they are huge. Fookin’ massive! So much so that I’m almost convinced they had hidden a third, maybe even a fourth member concealed somewhere on, off or under the stage…

No. They didn’t. But what they did have was a tight set that was as impressive as it was powerful. The interplay between bassist/vocalist Jared Warren and drummer Cody Willis is remarkable to witness. While Warren has his work cut out tap dancing across his pedalboard and tickling and tackling the strings to build layer after layer, craft texture upon texture, and deliver mammoth melodies and riffs and sing, Willis sits in the groove and hammers and slams and punctuates the monolithic mass that this dynamic duo somehow summon up from seemingly nowhere. And with the incredible ‘Horses’ to close out the set, we leave Mama Roux’s dumbstruck and in awe of two phenomenal live bands.

Yes. It was that good.

This is going on the Best Gigs of 2017 list…

Big Business Tour 2017

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