Photos by Ryan Swerdlin • Recording by Andre Griffin
The Heavy Pets have been making a name for themselves on the jam scene since 2005, but they’ve only done “Walrus – A Tribute to the Beatles” a handful of times. “We really don’t play too many covers, or haven’t up until this point, and we definitely never did a tribute thing like that. It was a pretty cool undertaking and the reception was huge. People really liked it. We thought it was going to be a one-time thing, but there was a lot of interest in it and people were digging the recordings,” said Drummer Jamie Dewitt.
Last Saturday night at Aisle 5 nestled in the hipster Little Five Points area of downtown Atlanta, the Pets took the stage at midnight opening the gates with a lengthy jammed out version of “Day Tripper” originally released in 1965 as a single with “We Can Work it Out.” The band relaxed the pace a bit for “I Got A Feeling,” but following some stellar vocal work from Jeff Lloyd the jam picked up with Jim Wuest 60s organ sounds filling the space for exceptional guitar riffs from Lloyd and Mike Garulli. “Come Together” was a highlight of the night when all was said and done. Tony’s bass and the electric piano led an ambient intro to the song, Garulli’s guitar tone was absolutely magical as his delay soaked tones engulfed the room into one incredible yet gentle peak.
Classics continued throughout the right such as “Get Back” (Released April 1969), “I am the Walrus”, “Hard Days Night,” and a very memorable and well executed “Don’t Let Me Down.” The band tackled these songs very well. The jams and improvisational passages were rock driven with purpose and direction. This wasn’t a Beatles tribute where the band tries to imitate these songs, this was the Heavy Pets tackling a very tough catalog with their own personal touch and we the result was something very special.
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the highlight of the night personally. The introduction was handled well, the changes were seamless, and it felt genuine. The chorus of this song was killer with everyone locking in to really pull this off. Wuest’s electric pianos sounds funkily rolled over the chorus, then he took it for a run on the organ at the end of the song. Everyone in the venue locked into this one for sure and the energy in the room onstage was the same as in the crowd. Mike’s filthy auto-wah envelope filter sounds decorated a very funky laden take on “We Can Work It Out”. “Eleanor” and “A Day in The Life” were very on par with the rest of the tunes. “A Day in The Life” has made its way into the Pets setlist before, even appearing in the encore spot earlier this tour in DC. Definitely one the band has nailed down to a tea.
What would a closing night be without a send-off “Hey Jude”. That was a great way to end it, but of course the band went into a late night dance filled cover of Prince’s “Party Like Its 1999”.
In all, one rock heavy night of music from the Heavy Pets celebrating the catalog of a band that changed rock n roll forever, The Beatles.