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August 18, 2009

It's Business time

j-roddy walston and the businessTonight, J-Roddy Walston and the Business are  playing a $5 show at The Ottobar (2549 N. Howard St.).

Ever seen these guys before? They are quite possibly the hardest rocking band in Baltimore -- not because they play super loud or super fast or super distorted. I've just never seen another Baltimore band rock quite as hard as them.

J-Roddy Walston and the Business dial up the reckless, rollicking rock 'n' roll of the 1950s, and infuse it with the fist-pumping depth and edge of 1970s rock.

With tons of hair, head-banging and righteous attitude, these guys have a riotous stage presence, too ...

If the Hold Steady is America's best bar band, J-Roddy Walston and the Business is Baltimore's best bar band.

I did a short piece in today's paper about the band. I talked to drummer Steve Colmus, who kind of acts as the band's spokesman. The piece came together last-minute, and I heard back from front man Walston too late to get him in the story.

Walston had some interesting perspective on where the band was coming from musically when they were writing the tunes for their new album, which should be out in the fall.

"You've got a lot of time to listen to music when you're touring," he said. 

Walston got into early Bob Dylan, the Band and Randy Newman. He also said there was a phase when the band submerged themselves in Stax Records and old soul music.

Since the band toured so much this past year, most of the new songs were fleshed out on the road.

"More than any influence as far as a band or record was touring," Walston said. "This isn't like an album of tour songs. It's not about life on the road or anything like that. But it's more of a mindset."

(Photo by Ryan Thomas)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:48 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local music


If your comparing them to the Steady, that's elite company. Can't make the show tonight, but do the boys have any clips online?

awesome. just, awesome. i'll be there tonight for that.

sturmy, the first time i saw J Roddy, they actually opened up for the Steady at a "secret" show at the Recher (show was sponsored by Jack Daniels, could it get any better?). First of all, I'm a BIG Hold Steady fan, but J Roddy actually played harder and better than they did. Never seen an opening band that was almost as good as the main act. If you check youtube, there's a bunch of clips of them.

actually, i'll just save you the trouble.

"I'm Goin' Out"

"Used to did"

I just wish they had used soundboard audio for the video clips. That way it would have looked and sounded cool.

Anybody who doubts the awesomeness of J-Roddy Walston and the Business need only gaze upon bassist Zach Westphal's epic mustache.

haha, you might say "it means business". can i get a zink for that?


Allan, dude your the best! Huge Steady fan here too. Their the only reason I'm stopping by the Vfest this year. I had a ticket for that Sun night show at the Recher, but my flight was delayed coming back to town and I missed it. I may just sneak out tonight and catch the gig now.

awesome, i'll be the guy in camo shorts and a black button up. if you stop and say hi, i'll buy you a drink.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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