With the Heavy Pets
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery, Boca Raton
Shedding their questionably suggestive nomenclature for something a bit more on the silly
side, Fort Lauderdale's the Heavy Pets transformed into their Halloween-enhanced doppelgänger act
Spaghetti Warhol at the Funk Buddha Lounge & Brewery on Saturday.
Although having auditory selection differences, the lineup is the same. The alter-ego project has an affinity for covering other bands' tunes. Of course, that is a thematic constant during this holiday's music season and especially true for jam bands. The room
and front outdoor patio were overflowing with costume-clad fans building a preshow buzz on
choice microbrews. Even before the first note, the vibe was nothing but a good
time and seemed to be more of a private holiday party for the Pets faithful.
The laidback approach to the night eventually saw the band take the stage in full matching black Venetian raven masks and long black capes. The lights were dimmed, and trace guitar notes of the set opener came from Bob James' "Nautilus." The spooky aspect was in full effect, and a trance-like sway was contagious on the dance floor. True to form, the Heavy Pets' schizophrenic project switched gears, and drummer Jamie Newitt took the mic for a solid take on Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." As if trying to purposefully leap over the genre boundaries, a triumvirate of covers finished off with John Denver's "Country Roads."
A short break bought out an odd approach, as Spaghetti Warhol covered their Pets counterpart's fast-paced rock instrumental "Earthchaser." During a breakdown, the tune melded into the David Gilmour's guitar solo section of Pink Floyd's "Time." The ringing note to close the legendary rock tune started a segue back into a stunning solo by Jeff Lloyd to close the Pets-Floyd sandwich.
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Homage was also paid to Kurt Cobain with a heartfelt "Dumb," which was followed by a mockingly funny Cee Lo tribute with "Fuck You." Playful anthems for the night were the midpoint of the goofy set and included the Police's "Bring on the Night" and Neil Young's "Out on the Weekend." All members were hitting every fill and gap, pushing the tunes to places the originators would have even given approval.
Things took a turn for the awesome when bassist Justin Carney revealed a Ramones shirt under his cape, then added a leather jacket, wig, and glasses. The band proceeded to do a marathon of punk with "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," and "Blitzkrieg Bop." The departure into throwback material with that kind of energy had the crowd energy peaking and mockingly slam dancing. Carney capped off the rare vocal performance by throwing down the microphone stand. A return to the Pet's catalog with "Castles Made of Sand" brought about an extended jam landscape on which Lloyd laid down some machine-gun guitar soloing to close the set.
Set break put the party back into full swing, and the judges roamed the room looking for the best costumes. A spaceman and spacewoman took pictures with random members of the crowd in between libations and laughs. A pink Foxy Cleopatra worked the room for what it was worth. Brotherly Love Productions founder Matt Beck, dressed in a hilarious dog costume, came onstage and was followed by the band back in the Heavy Pets mode. As he announced the winners of best costume, the band played a beat-poetry instrumental before jumping into "Keep Me Running."
Without stopping for breath, the tune faded into one of the best versions of "Better" to date. The guys' theatrics reflected that they were really feeling the alternative-rock deep cut. The dance party went off the Richter scale when "Girl You Make Me Stupid" dropped and the entire room was jovially pulsing. Hoots, hollers, and high-fives were cut off when a deep dig into the discography brought out a stunning rendition of the psychedelic rock intensive "Monster Box." Not only the highlight of the night but really one of the best moments from the quintet in recent history.
As the hours grew late, a fitting "3 AM" was jammed to perfection, and a fun "Instant Karma" encore preceded an afterparty that went late into the night. Newitt and keyboardist Jim Weust took the party into the early morning with their dubtronic duo Dubble James at the Boca Muse. As twilight was beginning to peak its head over the horizon, another epic Halloween weekend of music came to a close.
Random detail: Sporting black Venetian raven masks and full body capes, the band had the best costumes of the night.
The crowd: A sizable turnout of the Heavy Pets regulars, and many of them had great costumes.
Overheard: "I can't do right foot yellow and left foot blue at the same time" from a spacewoman attempting to play a game of Twister on a girl dressed as the game.
Nautilus, Rapper's Delight, Country Road, Earthchaser> Time> Earthchaser, Dumb, Fuck You, Bring On The Night, Out On the Weekend, Honey From The Jar, Sheena Is a Punk Rocker> Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue> Blitzkrieg Bop, Castles Made of Sand
Costume Contest Jam> Keep Me Running> Better, John Galt, Girl You Make Me Stupid, Monster Box, 3 AM
E: Instant Karma
Videos courtesy of Cheesehead Productions.
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