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The Heavy Heavy: Mission Creek Festival 2023

The Heavy Heavy took to the stage at Big Grove Brewery on April 8 to deliver a standout performance from last weekend’s Mission Creek Festival. Though the venue’s restaurant seating and tight-packed stage may have seemed less than ideal, The Heavy Heavy was unbothered. The band flawlessly delivered their mix of psychedelic rock, sunshine pop, and blues in an exciting set of original tracks and covers.

The Heavy Heavy introduced themselves with an explosion of noise. The instrumental track “Parakeets” immediately captured the audience in their full-bodied rock sound. With the crowd already up and dancing, the band catapulted into “Man of the Hills” – my personal favorite from their new EP “Life and Life Only”. The track showcased the undeniable strength of the band’s rhythm section. The Heavy Heavy rocked the audience with their reverberating bass line and full drums. Singer Georgie Fuller took lead on vocals, shaking the rafters with her effortless belting. The group’s sound and balance were outstanding already, and they only seemed to get stronger as the set continued.

For the rest of the show, The Heavy Heavy alternated between original tracks and creative covers. The covers won hearts with their familiar tunes, but each song was decorated in something distinctly Heavy Heavy-esc. It’s almost wrong to refer to them as covers at all; they existed more along the lines of reinventions. The band tackled “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac, a daunting track to remake, with unwavering confidence. Each musician contributed to their vision of the song instead of meticulously recreating the pre-existing tape.

But the stand-out parts of the show came from the original selections. The Heavy Heavy’s EP boasts a variety of styles and sounds, displaying the variability of each musician on stage. “Go Down River” shrouded the space in a dreamy, summer haze – a perfect homage to our warming weather.

The folk vibes continued into “Why Don’t You Call?”, a faster paced song that showcased the band’s skill. The instrumentals fit together like puzzle pieces as the rhythm bounced across the stage from member to member, never once falling in the complex arrangement. “All My Dreams” delivered on the psychedelic influence, introducing a reverberating, hypnotizing sound. The featured guitar melody filled the space, swirling up and around the dancing audience. The trance seemed to spread on stage as well, with every member rocking to the same beat. As the harmonies took flight, the whole space became magic.

To have a full, five-member ensemble who are just so unbelievably solid in their techniques is a rare treat in today’s music scene, and The Heavy Heavy takes full advantage of it. Their full sound gives flare to their quiet moments as well as in their rafter-shaking ones. Each instrument contributes to a balanced, complex sound that would be impossible without the group’s size.

There’s often an unfair ultimatum put on up and coming rock bands today like The Heavy Heavy. Embracing the sound they love could mean being written off as copy-cats or a doomed thing of the past. Pushing themselves too far in a “new” direction could mean losing the beloved genre’s authenticity and soul. But The Heavy Heavy seems to be ignoring that pressure all together. On Saturday I saw a band who knew who they were. They were halfway across the world from home, stranded in the middle of Iowa of all god-forsaken places, and they still played with as much ease, joy, and talent as you can hope to see in a band. Their sound and passion are thrilling to witness. I hope that this first EP will be the start of a long and beautiful career.

I got a chance to speak with a few members of the band after the show, gathering a few comments on the night’s performance and their ongoing “Life and Life Only” US tour. The band seemed just as pleased with the night’s energy, saying they were pleasantly surprised by the audience’s dancing and singing within the sit-down venue. They’ve had similar warm receptions across the US so far, playing to a diverse set of venues, audiences, and climates. With more successful shows on the horizon, it seemed natural to ask if a second album was underway.

“Oh, it’s definitely in the works, we’re just slow cooking it right now,” remarked lead singer and guitarist Will Turner. “It’ll taste better that way!”

Singer Georgie Fuller added that their second release could be expected some time next year. With the exciting thought of new music, and a possible tour returning to the midwest, be sure to listen to “Life and Life Only” and be on the lookout for more Heavy Heavy news.