Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Heavy at the Cosmopolitan Book & Stage Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Heavy, along with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, are part of a new wave in soul, mixing sweet 70's sounds with modern influences such as rock and punk (Honeybears) and hip-hop & sampling (The Heavy). I know that there are some others that I have yet to discover but these three acts get terrific sounds and really know how to write a tune!

This venue is more than a little odd - a stage behind the bar at a sports book in an upscale Strip casino - not exactly my usual place for a rock'n'soul concert. But, the shows are free and they bring in some quality acts, so that makes up for a lot! Due to the location of the stage the group is separated from the audience unless you are standing to the side of the bandstand (as we were), though we were still a good 15-20 feet away. There is a walkway for the band that bisects the half-circle of the bar, but even when transversing that, the singer, Kelvin, still couldn't get more than 6-10 feet from anyone. He did come over to the side of the stage at times and even jumped into the audience to dance with the ladies (with the help of an extra long mic cord), but the distance was distracting.

The core of the band is guitar (Dan Taylor), bass (Spencer Page), drums (Chris Ellul) (who had to play behind plexiglass - I'm assuming this was to cut down the noise due to the proximity to the gambling area), along with Kelvin, though on this tour they are augmented by a keyboardist and a three-piece horn section (who also danced, sang and added percussion), which helps to recreate the sounds of the record, where they do rely on sampling and extra musicians. Everyone was top-notch and added to the sound and vibe of the performance. The set included tunes from their two current albums as well as some new material that they were saying should be out in the next few months. They promised that they will return to Vegas in the fall, so be sure to see 'em, wherever they appear!

Kelvin even came out after the set to talk with fans and was super nice and accommodating - I always appreciate when the acts appreciate the fans!