Rod, Zach, Billy, and Steve are four normal, slightly nerdy-looking dudes who happen to be rock stars. Two out of four wear black-rimmed, hipster-kid glasses. Two out of four have long curly Robert Plant hair. Zach – who wears both – was dressed in tight black jeans and a gas station find: a super-snug sleeveless T-shirt with the state of Arkansas on it that read: “The People’s Vote.” At a crowded Pizza D’s, I sat with J-Roddy Walston and the Business, the long name of this super-tight throw-back band from Baltimore, and talked about sunburns and swords until our table got pushed aside and people stood up and moved in close for the opening act, Nathan Browningham.
Rod, who sings and plays piano in the Baltimore band, was transfixed on the local singer/keyboardist known for his Prince falsetto and “What a Fool Believes” cover. Nathan’s well-written witty chants got Rod and company clapping along, especially on “Pizza Party,” a cheer about celebrating a win at a pizza joint, and “Bible Study,” in which you’ll find “Jesus Christ, a study buddy.”
J-Roddy Walston and the Business opened their Independence Day set by defining freedom as rock ‘n roll, drinking, sweating, humping and dying and toasted to doing all of the above last night. Then they ripped into a song about “goin’ out with my friends,” which got everybody dancing and hanging all over each other. The band’s head-on, head-banging approach to rock ‘n roll of old with go-for-it guitar solos, saloon-style piano and shout-along choruses liken them to Kings of Leon and The Hold Steady. They’re loud, relentess and wear you out before they’re even halfway done with you. They played for an hour and were prodded to do a few more. They gave in and gave us three more songs including a sing-along about baby Jesus and a song about marrying a girl named Sally.
If your sunburn and hangover forced you to miss last night’s show, you might get another chance to see them live. It’s rumored that the American Princes-approved Business will open for the Little Rock indie-rock band in September at Vino’s. We’ll let you know. Until then, listen to “I Used to Did,” off of Hail Mega Boys, here.