Heavy Pets - Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale - December 21

Categories: Concert Review
Ceenan Calzadilla
Guitarist Mike Garulli of the Heavy Pets 
So, the world didn't exactly come to an end on Friday. But something major definitely went down at Culture Room, where Greenhouse Lounge and the Heavy Pets, with special guest Roosevelt Collier, jammed out an epic end-of-the world party. If any sort of an apocalypse was gonna happen, this was where we wanted to be. 

The Heavy Pets took to the stage in the most potent, assertive show we have seen from them yet. They have become local staples, playing (much needed) afterparties around town for major acts like Umphrey's McGee, but this concert made a clear statement that they are a headlining act in their own right.

Ceenan Calzadilla
Dynamic duo of guitarists: Mike Garulli and Jeff Lloyd of the Heavy Pets 

Ceenan Calzadilla
Bassist Dave McSweeney of Greenhouse Lounge
First of all, we made sure to arrive early on Friday because we missed out on Greenhouse Lounge's opening set for Papadosio a couple weeks ago, a big mistake which we were determined to rectify. The Jacksonville-based trio weave a soundscape of jam,  jjazz, electro, and funk that proves "jamtronica" is not only a legitimate genre, but an entirely new musical frontier. 

Now, we knew that a concert headlining the Heavy Pets would be exactly as awesome as it was. But the real star of the night was Robert Collier, the steel pedal guitarist who sat in for nearly half of the Pets' set. You may have heard him around town as a member of the Lee Boys, a Miami-based soul brigade made up of an extremely talented crop of brothers and nephews. We'll call it a great case of musical genes. Collier made an appearance with the Heavy Pets last month at Bear Creek, and it went down so well that we can only assume they wanted to make it happen again just in case the world truly did implode on itself. 

Ceenan Calzadilla
Roosevelt Collier gettin' down with the Heavy Pets
Over an hour into the set, Collier joined the Heavy Pets onstage for a steelled-up medley of Heavy Pets gems, old and new: "Xylophone", "Help Me Help You," a track from the newly-released EP, The Everywhere Sessions, Vol. 1, and "Girl You Make Me Stupid," a crowd favorite that has become something of a Heavy Pets concert staple since the release of their debut double-disc album, Whale, in  2007. "Girl You Make Me Stupid" was a highlight not only on account of Collier's presence, but also due to funky vocals and a searing solo from Jim Wuest on keyboards.

The Heavy Pets were also joined by local songstress Leiah Siciliano (who, at first beer-goggled glance, we kinda thought was Alanis Morissette), who lent her vocals to "Love Gigantic." 

Video by CHeeSeHeaDPRoDuCTioNS
The Heavy Pets have been making waves at major Florida events such as Bear Creek and Art Basel this fall, and this year has definitely marked a period of progression for the group. With backing from local tastemakers Brotherly Love Productions, the Heavy Pets have quickly become the most beloved jam band in SoFla and most certainly beyond (we're not sure how far we can extend our own personal taste, but they're awesome). 

Ceenan Calzadilla
Keyboardist Jim Wuest of the Heavy Pets

The apocalyptic get-down closed out with a drawn-out rendition (with help from Collier) of "The Day the Sun Forgot to Rise," a new track from The Everywhere Sessions, Vol. 1. A nod to the apocalypse? Perhaps. But now that the world hasn't ended, we can confidently start to look forward to the Pets' next SoFla appearances. They'll spend the holidays playing up north (lame), but will return to play some excellent after parties for Jam Cruise pre- and post-shows in Fort Lauderdale. 

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Patrick Garcia
Patrick Garcia

I tried emailing/messaging but no one seems to answer.

Patrick Garcia
Patrick Garcia

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