Words & Images by: Joseph C
The Heavy Pets/Consider The Source :: 05.02.09 :: Sullivan Hall :: New York, NY
Soon after I arrived at Sullivan Hall the lights came up on Antigone Rising, and the early show crowd shuffled out still humming the band's "Midnight Rider" set closer. The line to get inside quickly grew with fans hip to the late show starting at 10 p.m. sharp. The guys from Consider The Source hurried to the stage and spared no time in setting up their gear. They were dropping their third album, Are You Watching Closely, and it was obvious they wanted to utilize every second they could for the event.
Soon enough, the lights came down and we set forth to the pulsing drum and bass beat of "Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong." Gabriel Marin went early for his guitar synth as everyone heard the sound of a breathy saxophone coming from the fretless side of his custom double neck guitar. After this crowd pleaser, John Ferrara slapped out the opening bass line to "Wandering Bear" and the place fell right into the groove. Marin and Ferrara rocked back and forth together as the song came to a head-banging end.
Next came "Do Not Shrink Me, Gypsy," a reference to the Borat movie. Marin made haste and charged into some serious shredding, which was a warm-up for the slap bass solos supplied by Ferrara that left even his bandmates smiling and impressed. Justin Ahiyon started pouring sweat as he elevated the beat with a big drum solo before all three musicians locked eyes and fell seamlessly back into the main theme of "Gypsy" before closing out the song. This track was a vehicle used to showcase the band's impressive improvisational skills and signature Middle Eastern motifs.
They announced the debut of a new song that must have taken some serious practice time as the crowd witnessed lightning fast changes the like of which are rarely seen. The guys used this to springboard directly into the intro of Metallica's "And Justice for All" before erupting into the opening riff of "Tihai for The Straight Guy." "Tihai" easily proved to be the musical height of this show, where all three of the guys traded menacing solos while going in and out of the song's main descending riff.
Following this one, relaxation was called for and the band obeyed that collective need as they shifted to a smooth, melodic ballad under the mysterious moniker "Those We Do Not Speak Of." Even with this, a slow soft piece, the band managed to highlight their musical talent as Ferrara and Marin matched each other note for note with flawless finger tapping up and down their fretboards as Ahiyon's drumsticks danced effortlessly across his cymbals. The remainder of the show featured three composition-heavy songs from the new album. "Order of the Triad" started off with a dark, medieval feel and reached clear past the ten-minute mark moving through complex rhythms, eerie bass lines and full-on guitar shredding. The last two songs harnessed a more industrial sound, which found Ferrara and Ahiyon locked in unison, while Marin delivered some impressive guitar effects. Then, the last crunching notes of "The Transported Man" brought on a resounding applause from the crowd and the end of a very strong set.
|Gabriel Marin - Consider The Source :: 05.02 :: NYC|
During setbreak, the crowd had thinned out a little as the clock ticked past midnight, but The Heavy Pets slid right into the groove as Felix Pastorius laid down the opening bass line to "Dewpoint." Instantly the place started to move and it was obvious that the Pets' set was going to take a different musical direction than Consider The Source. The Pets were ready to bring the dance party! I had originally been introduced to the Pets via their Sirius radio hit "Operation of Flight," which never totally won me over. This night, however, the Florida band was capitalizing on the opportunity to turn some heads and capture some new fans in NYC.
The Pets soon proved their ability to blend an array of musical genres into one song as they busted into "Waiting for a Sign." The song started off with a prog feel that had power chords and composed guitar leads then moved swiftly into a trance backbeat before dropping into a reggae rhythm. The end of this stretched out song ended up exploding into straight rock & roll when guitarist Mike Garulli took a commanding solo to bring the song to an end.
The Pets then played a strong version of the feel good song "Travel," which soon found guitarist Jeff Lloyd smiling as he pushed the track on with his raucous playing. They excitedly jumped right into their trance jam vehicle "Bibbles," which stretched beyond the twenty-minute mark. Jim Wuest (keys) and Jamie Newitt (drums) quickly proved that there were no weak links in this five-piece, as Wuest laid down the funk on the keys and took the lead vocal for "Pass It Down", while Newitt delivered on point drumming.
| The Heavy Pets :: 05.02 :: NYC|
If it all wasn't enough already, the crowd was treated to a sit in from young saxophone wiz Michael Kamers from the MK Groove Orchestra. The funk was in the air, surrounding everyone in the club, which spawned the best jam of the night as the crowd was haphazardly dancing about. "Jackie Bones" was next and this song I was told is about Lloyd's dog, though tonight it was really all about the bass solo. While Lloyd sang, "I wish he could talk," I felt that Pastorius' bass did just that as he eased into a beautiful melodic solo that had all eyes on him including his fellow band members. The Pets recently picked up Pastorius, and, to their credit, I have never seen anyone click with a band so soon after hopping on board. If the Pets puzzle was ever missing a piece it was Pastorius. This was my first time seeing the bassist and he brought the Pets right where they need to be to continue to make an impact on the jam scene.
While the crowd started to shrink as the band rolled past 2 a.m., the musicians didn't seem to notice as they continued to trade solos on "Played Again" and give big smiles to the hundred or so people that still remained. They continued to bust out some killer jam highlights and broke right into the reggae groove of "John Galt," which segued into the Phish-esque jam "Sleep." The Pets made sure they brought their A-game to New York for whoever was willing to listen, and after a mesmerizing performance from Consider The Source they still did not fail to wow the crowd.
This was not a night for competition between bands but one for mutual appreciation. I caught up with Justin Ahiyon from CTS, who was locked in on Jamie Newitt's drumming, and he told me how much he loved the feel good groove of the Pets. Consider The Source brought their unique blend of ethno-fusion shredding, while The Heavy Pets brought the dance party grooves for an amazing night of music that only left smiling faces asking when and where the next shows were.
The Heavy Pets tour dates available here, Consider The Source dates here.
Consider The Source :: 05.02.09 :: Sullivan Hall :: New York, NY
Keep your Pimp Hand Strong, Wandering Bear, Do not Shrink Me Gypsy, Got a lot of Growing Up to Do, Tihai for the Straight Guy, Those We Do Not Speak Of, Order of the Triad, Blue Steel, Transported Man
The Heavy Pets :: 05.02.09 :: Sullivan Hall :: New York, NY
Dewpoint, Waiting For A Sign, Travel, Bibbles, Lantern, Pass It Down, Jackie Bones, Played Again, Sinner, John Galt > Sleep, Spin Round
JamBase | Bouncing Around
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