Kung Fu and The Heavy Pets at the Blockley 12/2/11

Story by Kelly Wassinger
Photos by StSteven of PhilipsPhoto.com

On Friday night December 2nd The Heavy Pets graced the Blockley with their presence as part of their winter tour, Swim Out Past the Sun. The night kicked off with a tantalizing opening set from Kung Fu.

Kung Fu is the band to listen to for all the jazzy-funk loving people out there – and for those who aren’t huge fans of the jazz/funk fusion genre, Kung Fu might just be able to change your mind. The group formed after a jam session in 2009 and consists of Tim Palmieri on the guitar, Rob Somerville on the sax, Dave Livolsi on the bass, and Adrian Tramantono on the drums. Their chemistry as a band is magical, creating music that practically forces your feet to move. The Blockley crowd experienced the honor of witnessing the band’s first show in Philly. Hopefully, Philly will be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

The Heavy Pets kept the dance floor alive with their unique jazz/funk/reggae/rock vibe after the Kung Fu set. This South Florida based band is an absolute treat to see live because they radiate energy only obtainable through their one of a kind sound. THP takes their audiences on a journey through musical genres from rock to funk to jazz to reggae and back again without realizing they had ever left one particular genre. The Friday crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy their musical journey with The Pets, whether they were just tapping their feet or engaging in a full-on groove session, everyone was moved by the music.

The band officially formed in 2005, and quickly blew up when they made their first appearance on Sirius Radio in 2007. THP has been continually impressing music lovers ever since. THP has appeared at multiple festivals over they years such as Bonnaroo, Gathering of the Vibes, moe.down, All Good, Wakarusa, Summercamp, and several others (most notably PetZoo their namesake).

 

THP is composed of five members: Jeff Lloyd (guitar and vocals), Mike Garulli (guitar and vocals), Jim Wuest – (keyboards and vocals), Justin Carney (bass and vocals), and Jamie Newitt (drums and vocals). One of the most impressive aspects of this band is their noticeable attentiveness to not only the sound they are producing but also to their lyrics and harmonies.

The Blockley crowd received a special surprise when they covered John Denver’s infamous “Country Road” on Friday, a truly breath-taking cover that transported you from the Philly state-of-mind to a country state-of-mind within the song’s first chords. The Heavy Pets have an uncanny ability to cover tracks without ruining the original vibe of the song, a feat that not every artist can overcome, and yet another reason why the Pets prove to be one of the more well-rounded artists in terms of overall talent.

On their latest album, Swim Out Past the Sun, they collaborated with David Grisman the well-known Jerry Garcia collaborator on several tracks. The album was also produced and recorded by Grammy and Oscar winner Scott Mathews, and Grammy winner Vlado Meller. According to Jambands.com, their new album embodies the essence of an acoustic Grateful Dead album but with the usual Heavy Pets vibe. They are one of the few bands that can successfully combine a variety of different genres without making their music appear sloppy or overdone.

Everything they do just seems to make sense. In 2010, the Huffington Post recognized their album, “The Heavy Pets” as one of the top 10 albums of 2010, and they have been described by Relix Magazine as “a living, breathing, force of nature,” and this force of nature does not seem to show signs of slowing down any time soon, and if you have not gotten the chance to be mesmerized by their incredible talent, be sure to check them out.

Upcoming shows at the Blockley include: Tipper, Biodiesel, and Binary Bits 12/07, Dopapod and Psychedelphia 12/09, Splintered Sunlight 12/15, Long Miles 12/16, and Brothers Past, Indobox, and Beard o Bees (Jesse Miller of Lotus) 12/30.

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