100 Shows of 2010 - #39: The Constellations/J-Roddy Walston & The Business @ Rock’n’Roll Hotel, 6/18/10

Birthday week was already plenty damn fine. But then, my little sweeties, it got even finer. I must credit this outpouring of super fineness to the terrific tandem of J-Roddy Walston & The Business and The (mighty fine) Constellations. The Baltimoreans and the Atlantanians came together for what was a one-two punch of sweaty, dancey, nasty rock’n’roll, with varying degrees of funk and soul and groovability thrown in for good measure. They both did it up somethin’ fierce, and it was one heck of a good time.

MINI RECAP: The Constellations = Supercalifragilistic! J-Roddy Walston & The Business = Expialidocious! Overall score: A-.

I already knew what to expect from J-Roddy Walston & The Business, having had the pleasure of seeing them once before down in Richmond a little while back. I thought I’d missed their set, but thankfully traffic and the hunt for parking didn’t band black me. The show ran way behind schedule, which turned out to be a good thing. As soon as they stepped onstage, it was pure, ballsy rock. The band doesn’t go for nuance as much as straightforward, balls-to-the-wall rock’n’roll, and it’s part of what makes them so charming. Walston himself has a perfect, bluesy howl that’s spot on for their brand of slightly raunchy rock. The entire band gets top marks for their showmanship, with their writhing around and frequent tossing of the hair (Walston especially, with those curls of his) adding emphasis to that big, bulky sound. They’re showy (just this side of being hams), they’re loud, they’re more than a little bit bad (and ladies: they’re all pretty worth lookin’ at). In short, they’re pure rock’n’roll.

After that, the crowd was good and ready for even more musical chaos. Lucky for us, The Constellations had ventured up from their lair of funk down in Atlanta to show us how to really have a good time. “We’re just gonna roll with it and see what happens,” they opined, before working their magic. Eight folks strong, the band laid down a set of delicious little groove-heavy songs, funky and sassy as all get out. I loved them from the word go, what with the be-fro’d bassist and the two ladies shimmying all 60s girl group style as they got their tambourine and maraca action on. Their songs had a curious effect on me, making me feel good but very, very bad at the same time. They got the herd dancin’, and they too looked like they were having more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And really, any band that covers Bowie (in this case, the way appropriate “Let’s Dance”) is ahead of the game in my book. With a bongo breakdown in the middle, no less. The Constellations are up to no good, and I certainly appreciate, enjoy, and encourage their sauciness. “We take no prisoners,” said they, and that’s not just whistlin’ Dixie. They came, they saw, and they kicked out the jams good and proper.

Brothers and sisters, I’m gonna tell you a little something. A little friendly advice from me to you. You need to go see both of these bands. You really do. If you’re itchin’ to dance, they’ve got you covered. They showed yours truly one hell of a good time, and they’ll do the same for you, no doubt.

mp3: Felicia (The Constellations from Southern Gothic)


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