On Friday evening, jam band fans from across the boroughs (and state) found the Brooklyn Bowl in Willamsburg and celebrated music. More specifically, they gave their ears to the evening to a pair of very capable hosts: Florida's The Heavy Pets and New York's own Fever Train. The Heavy Pets, who are favorites in the jam band and festival scenes, showcased the remarkable skill and comfort with one another through their performance. Every member had an opportunity to showcase their gifts, with driven solos or with combinations of sounds.
The Brooklyn Bowl is an interesting space. Part restaurant, part bar, part bowling alley and concert venue, it may seem difficult to imagine yourself watching a band jam onstage for ten minutes and then out of the corner of your eye, see someone tying their bowling shoes... But the atmosphere of fun, chill and non-judgment was suited perfectly for what The Heavy Pets consistently offer at their shows. As front-man Jeff Lloyd explained to me when we chatted last month, “[O]ne of my favorite things is to hear from a new fan after a show, and it's flattering. We hear it a lot. Maybe they weren't sure what to expect, or maybe jam bands or the instrumental music wasn't their thing before, but now they're going home and giving us a chance.”
This was certainly true on Friday. Fever Train's brand of funky rock warmed up the crowd, encouraging us to turn the Brooklyn Bowl into a dance free-for-all. About twenty minutes into The Heavy Pets' high-energy, continuous set, there were no sounds of bowling balls hitting pins anywhere in the entire space. Just keys, harmony and the rubber of soles against the floor in an inspired haze. In a particular turn of awesome, the band offered a free download of the show to anyone who visited the merchandise booth—not anyone who bought something. Anyone who just wanted a keepsake from the evening now had the entire set in their pocket, just for the price of their admission. It was a little something that I'd really like to see bands do more of.
You can catch Fever Train as they move around the Northeast, and hit you with some particularly proficient bass-fueled songs. The Heavy Pets have two more gigs before returning to the festival scene that they're so great at: Florida's Green Parrot and Orange Blossom Jamboree. Northeasterns can catch them at Mountain Jam in Hunter, NY in the first weekend in June.
After seeing the Pets live for the first time, I can understand why the just six-year old band have received praise unanimously from this site to The Huffington Post.