The Heavy Pets dropped by Westcott Street in Syracuse this past Thursday and damn, it was a good time! With plenty of space to move around, the crowd took in a solid batch of jams by the 5-piece from Florida, enjoying the sunshine they brought with them. Unbeknownst to me, the group has ties to Syracuse University, so it was a twisted sort of homecoming for at least one of the band members. Go Orange!
Since their formation in 2007, T.H.P. has released a total of 8 albums (4 studio and 4 Live,) so they have plenty of output to select from when heading into their shows. The band chose lively starter “3am” to get the performance in motion, and we were off on a jammed out journey.
It was clear from the get-go that these guys are a very good band with a sincere passion for their craft… We need more groups like them coming around. Offering lots of mellow grooves and great tone, The Heavy Pets got right down to business. Throwing down some solid breaks and getting people ready to move, the band seems right at home onstage… No hesitation by the players at all. They could be playing for themselves or ten thousand people, but they seem very comfortable with their crowd and each other. Bonus points… Singer/Guitar player Jeff Lloyd kind of resembles Dave Mustaine from a distance, though his pleasant personality and bright smile undoubtedly make him the better choice to have a drink with.
To mix it up a bit, they brought in some definite funk on track two, “Monster Box.” With no hesitation, the bass player laid it right down, making the groove happen. With the rest of the group dialed right in, the cohesiveness of the unit remained for the duration of their performance. Throughout their 10-song set, The Heavy Pets featured plenty of tasty solos over some straight soulful grooves, highly danceable jams, and frantic rhythms.
To veer off topic a bit, it is very good to know that wherever jam inspired music occurs these days, there will always be a tight-bodied glow stick girl in Ugg boots going off. And I still need an answer as to when in the hell hula-hoops got so popular?
The Heavy Pets are yet another group that remind me how much music there is out there to explore. Though I’m a bit late in hearing this band, it is more of a relief to finally experience these guys than it is a bummer to know I am just finding out now.
4-piece group Lee Terrace provided the direct support. A very young looking band, their songs were diverse and unique, offering a wide range of influence and rhythmic texture. Incorporating jam, rock, and touches of punk and ska, their writing seems to be a free-for-all. With some dedicated woodshed time, I feel they have lots of potential to entertain.
The first thing at struck me was the Bass player… The kid is solid. As primary singer, his higher range was complemented by the occasional harmony by the keyboard player, who exchanged microphone duties throughout the set. The guitarist was also a good player, though I felt he scribbled out a majority of his solos rather hastily. The biggest detractor from the set was the drummer. I felt his approach was excessively showy, and he constantly nursed same fill over and over again. Hanging back a touch would greatly benefit the group as a whole. Good “House Of The Rising Sun” cover, fellas!
Starting us off tonight was the young jam trip known as Haewa. Recommended to me by several people, I really dug what these guys were throwing down. Definitely inspired by jam bands, they group incorporates a decent blend of rock, funk, reggae, jam into the mix. I think they could make some nice waves if they keep up the good work.
All of their songs were heavy on the groove, and they offered a nice pulse throughout their brief set. While the vocals were lacking at times, the kid’s guitar chops were right on, and he wasn’t afraid to show them off. The bass player was also solid as a rock, and worked a heavy bottom end into the mix. The drummer was a tad flubby, but he kept the groove moving along nicely throughout their set. Their incorporation of nice guitar effects, tasteful solos, and infrequent sampler usage filled up the room well.
The group seems to be in the experimental stage, and, in my humble, they need to move around a bit more while they perform. But overall, it was a good showing by the trio. Check them out if you see them on a bill.