I believe in evolution. Want proof? Here it is:
Half an hour into the Heavy Pets’ show at the Dunedin Brewery, I had my review all written. Knew exactly how it was going to unfold.
But then it changed and evolved by the end of the first set and evolved half a dozen more times before the “Jackie Bones” encore. You wanted proof positive? There it is!
There is just something about the Dunedin Brewery that turns an extraordinary performance into a truly magical one. Perhaps it is because you can stand right next to the band, with the energy surging back and forth between the band and the enthusiastic audience. Maybe it is the spot-on sound provided by house engineer Chris Fava. Perhaps it is the amazing job the Dunedin Brewery owners and staff do in providing outstanding music, beer, food and service. I’m guessing it’s a combination of all of that.
Ultimately, however, it was down to the Heavy Pets. This was my 20th show, and it was the best show I’ve ever heard from them.
In several recent reviews of the Heavy Pets (most recently 05.24.14 on my birthday), I have singled out the superb guitar work of Jeff Lloyd, and I stand by every one of those remarks. However, clearly I had musical blinders on, because I was obviously NOT paying enough attention to Lloyd’s guitar-slinging mate, Mike Gerulli. Last night fixed that. I was standing next to Gerulli for most of the first set, and he blew it up. Every song. Every solo. On fire. Raging. WOW.
Tony D’Amato’s addition to the band on bass has had a profound effect for me. I really enjoyed Justin Carney’s work on bass, but D’Amato is so funkified that shows since he joined the band have become funky rave-ups. Just watching D’Amato grinning at drummer Jamie Newitt as they propel the band through song after song tells you all you need to know. It is why, as I am preparing this for publication a week later, they are set to play their 1000th show at Hulaween.
Jeff Lloyd would explain it this way (ripped from FaceCrack): “Why do we do what we do? No friggin clue, but we do it for you. Thank You from the bottom of my heart and with all the Love I have to give. Sincerely, – JeLlo”
“Keep Me Running” just seemed to explode three songs into the first set. That’s when I thought I had my review all done. HAH! By the time they got to set-closer “Pass It Down,” it had evolved with massive funk rewrites.
Linda often remarks that certain bands “shouldn’t sing.” You know what I mean: the vocals work in the context of the music, but they are NOT great singers. That is absolutely NOT true of the Heavy Pets. Garulli, Lloyd and keyboard magician Jim Wuest all have good voices and harmonize extremely well together.
They opened the second set with “Chevrolet,” which then launched full speed into “Sunshine of Your Love” before working its way back to “Chevy.” It was a moving tribute to bassist Jack Bruce, who had passed away just that morning. “Sigismondi” is not normally one of my favorites, but this was by far the best version I’d ever heard.
The brewery had a special beer on tap called “Jackie Bones,” with a bunch of pumpkin spices and the like in it, which coordinated perfectly with the encore, Lloyd’s “Jackie Bones.” Coincidence? Not a chance!
I wish that somebody had recorded the evening’s performance. It would allow me to verify that the 20+minute rendition of “So Thank You Music” was a legendary as I think it was. One of the greatest musical performances I have ever heard, anywhere, by anyone. The segues and transitions were seamless, and everyone was totally caught up in the music. The crowd was fully engaged all evening, but this took us all over the top. “So Thank You Music” is exactly right!
Great to see Robert and Jordan from Serotonic with their much better halves, Katie and KelliAnn! Serotonic will be joining Freekbass for New Year’s Eve at the Dunedin Brewery. Setlists courtesy of Tony’s napkins and the band’s clarifications! I am hoping to add some high-quality photos soon.
The Heavy Pets are in the vinyl game. They have released two 7” colored vinyl EPs, last year’s Two Horses (“Last Babies” and “Keep Me Running”), and this year’s Rags and Aces (“Movie Star,” “Chew” and “Dewpoint”).
[SET 1: Taste of Wind, Ibis, Keep Me Running, Movie Star, Xylophone, Steppin’ Away, Pass It Down; SET 2: Chevrolet > Sunshine of Your Love > Chevrolet, Giant Birds, Sigismondi, Strawberry Mansion, Last Babies, So Thank You Music, Foolishness > Pain of Soul; E: Jackie Bones]