November 12th, The Heavy Pets and Primate Fiasco filled Funk n’ Waffles downtown Syracuse with a fusion of, well . . . I went to a funk and rock and jazz and ska and blues and reggae and jamtronica show.
First up was The Primate Fiasco. They played a handful of new songs, including “Astronauts” and their new monster of an instrumental named “Steamfunk.” Their new song “Little Arrows” has a shout out to Syracuse, and it’s genuine and not an “insert city name here” shout out. Love those guys! They also shared “Song For a Friend,” which is a deep cut that hasn’t been played in years. Another high point of Primate Fiasco’s set was their sample of Bob Dylan covers. Occasionally, they will perform a whole set of Dylan songs, dubbing it the “Dylan Disco.” This night they offered up “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” with their unique Fiasco twist on the song that only they can spin, making the song 100% their own while still staying true to the original. The Primate Fiasco are one of the most underrated bands around right now.
The Heavy Pets hail from sunny Florida, but have origins in Upstate NY and have been gaining steady popularity since they left the region over 10 years ago. Bringing it back home in a sense, they came in all guns blazing. These guys rock, they shred, they melt. Jam band? Of course. Funk band? Yep. Rock band? You know it. Reggae? Jazz? Fusion? ALL of the above. The Heavy Pets headlined November 12th with a great set riddled with a nice blend of songs, old and new, classic favorites, and some nice cover choices. The centerpiece of their set was an extended and exploratory version of the classic “So Thank You Music,” from their first studio album, Whale. Their set included the 1986 Paul Simon hit, “You Can Call Me Al.” By request, they played the funky favorite, “Girl You Make Me Stupid.” They brought it down a bit for the bluesy and heartfelt, “Last Babies” as well as an emotion filled cover of the Beatles classic, “Don’t Let Me Down.” One of the great things about the Heavy Pets is that they are such a cross genre fusion band. They are not one of those bands that have this plague of all songs sounding the same, trying hard to sell the public on the idea that it’s a “signature sound” rather than a lack of creativity. They fluidly pass from genre to genre, and keep the listener’s attention anticipating what could be next. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with guitarist Jeff Lloyd, where we discuss the Heavy Pets connection to Syracuse and CNY, as well as the new album they are in the middle of recording.
Author: George DiFabio
Photography: Jerrie DiFabio