Album Release Party
May 8, 2010
The Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
South Florida jam band The Heavy Pets recently threw an album release party at the Culture Room for their new self-titled album. Leading up to their show, the band spent six weeks in a California studio with none other than legendary producer Scott Mathews. Well-known for his time with the Beach Boys, it’s safe to say Mathews knows a thing or two about melody. And from the sound of their album, it’s apparent The Heavy Pets soaked up all the rock ‘n’ roll wisdom their producer had to offer.
The band stepped on stage at 10 p.m. to roaring applause from their anxious hometown crowd. A celebratory mood was apparent from the beginning: With smiles on their faces, The Heavy Pets were ready to please the crowd, kicking things off with the funk-infused “Do It Right.” Grateful fans immediately started to sway. The band kept the pace up with a couple of rocking songs, “Osyrus” and “How Would I,” before slowing things down with “Grace Blix,” an old-school R&B track from the album. “Blix” would fit perfectly alongside a Marvin Gaye tune on any mix tape, and the superb lyrics demonstrate The Heavy Pets’ dedication to writing complete songs.
The party continued with “So Thank You Music.” Here the band displayed their jam band and reggae roots and showcased their staggering musical prowess.
The next song, “STYM” proved the band’s affinity for the surf-rock vocal melodies featured in their newer songs. With tones from guitarists Mike Garulli and Jeff Lloyd, The Heavy Petslaunched into a long jam that got my bobbing and my feet moving. Complemented by drummer Jamie Newitt’s jazzy rim-shots, Justin Carney’s funky bass lines, and Jim Wuest’s arsenal of keyboards and Rhodes piano, “STYM” is an inspiring piece of music, and the highlight of the band’s first set, which ended with “Jackie Bones,” also from the new album.
With tones from guitarists Mike Garulli and Jeff Lloyd, The Heavy Pets launched into a long jam that got my head bobbing and my feet moving.
After a well-deserved break, The Heavy Pets opened the second set with “Hedi Sigismondi,” a complicated progressive rock tune. Loud drums and schizophrenic tempo changes forced me to move, but with the energy coming from the members on stage, this was not difficult. A welcome change of pace came with “Girl You Make Me Stupid,” and again I was left wondering what genre The Heavy Pets don’t try their hand in. “GYMMS” features verses sung hip-hop style by guitarist Garuilli, and again the band jammed while the crowd swayed. Album standouts “70 Beats in the Lion’s Den” and “Xylophone” came later in the set, as did the spectacular song “Dew Point.” The latter showed pianist Wuest bringing the funk and kept the dancing going. “John Galt” concluded the second set in upbeat fashion with reggae guitar and a catchy chorus.
In case two sets weren’t enough (they never are), The Heavy Pets returned for a three-song encore. “Holy Holy” featured spectacular guitar and drum work from Lloyd and Newitt before segueing into “Lisa Put a Penny” and “Off the Rails.” Adrenaline and the new album could probably have let the band play all night, but alas, they were finished for the night. The Heavy Pets gave a message to the Culture Room that night: There is originality and talent to be found in South Florida’s music scene. The Heavy Pets are more than happy to prove it, and thankfully they’re just getting started.
Review by Patrick Pineyro
Photos by Joseph Martinez
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