The clouds above were unleashing an icy downpour, soaking every exposed head and winter coat in their path, but that didn’t stop a growing crowd from making their way out to Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday night. The draw was J. Roddy Walston and the Business, with opening band Post Animal, who both rewarded the weather-beaten attendees with a storm of performance energy in the time they spent on stage. Before anything, as if emulating the hazy atmosphere outside, the interior of the venue was draped in a thick layer of synthetic fog from the smoke machines, and dark as licorice.
Chicago rock & roll band Post Animal – made up of current members Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Javi Reyes, Wesley Toledo, and Matt Williams – piqued interest immediately with their stimulating, shred-heavy set and congenial presence. “It’s wonderful to hear you touch your hands together after every song,” they announced early on, frequently repeating each other’s thoughts for humorous emphasis. “It does wonders for our ego.” Through the complex solos and drum patterns that seem to be their bread and butter, Post Animal presented a unique flavor of ultra-mod, gooey psych rock that was pleasingly unpredictable. As with sticky standouts like “Special Moment” and “When I Get Home,” their set was rich with experimental progressions that went right where you wanted them to wander, right before twisting into another direction entirely.
Taking the stage in a new swath of darkness that never fully dissipated, J. Roddy Walston and the Business pierced the fog and quickly got the audience clapping with starting song “Don’t Break the Needle,” drenching the venue in the warm vibes of their Southern-brewed hard rock. Fueled by J. Roddy’s authentic voice and dexterous work on the keys, the kinetic group – who just released their fourth full-length record last year – got the shivery Brooklyn crowd rocking as if they were four states away kicking up dust in the sun. “I know it’s a weekday. I know it snowed outside, so you worked hard to get here,” J. Roddy said with a friendly grin, letting the cheers of accomplishment finish his thought. Behind his trademark rig of keyboards and effects pedals – those positioned up top in a cluster, just within arm’s reach – he headbanged with every glissando and let the surrounding music take over his body. All the while, his hair rushed around him so often that it appeared as if he were somehow, for fleeting moments, submerged underwater.
Built from the ground up by Billy C. Gordon on guitar, Logan Davis on bass, and Steve Colmus on drums, every song had a sturdy foundation, keeping J. Roddy well-backed and able to really cut loose on keys. Fan favorites like “Same Days,” “Brave Man’s Death,” and “The Wanting” triggered word-for-word participation from the Brooklyn crowd, which seemed to surprise and satisfy the well-traveled band. In all the excitement, fans near the front had to continuously focus on holding down a good spot, at the risk of being swept into one of the inebriated dance whirlpools that were popping up haphazardly. And though J. Roddy and the Business rocked into the night with a generous, 13-song set – plus a 3-song encore of “Sweat Shock,” “You Know Me Better,” and “Heavy Bells” – they made the crowd feel right at home much earlier on. “We’re all friends by now, yeah?” J. Roddy asked affectionately, just five songs into the show. If the resulting applause was any measure, the whole room of hardened New Yorkers had somehow known each other for a lifetime. Good music can do that.
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley