The Heavy Pets had really seemed to hit their stride earlier this year when they enlisted Felix Pastorius on bass. The son of bass legend Jaco Pastorius, Felix is a respected musician in his own right who has shared the stage with bass greats Victor Wooten and John Patitucci, among others.
At the start of 2009, the Heavy Pets didn't have a bassist, so they secured Mark White from the Spin Doctors. Felix then replaced White, and it seemed like the Heavy Pets had made a great decision, because Felix not only had the chops but also the name recognition.
But now it looks like Felix was only there for the season. When I interviewed them in May, Felix made it clear the festival circuit was not for him. "I prefer playing in my living room," he said. In June, I saw the band perform at Bonnaroo, where between Snoop Dogg and Phish sets they attracted over 100 people into some tent (Bonnaroo gets confusing with That Tent, Those Tents, This Tent, That Stage, whaever). They pleased the crowd with a 60-minute cocktail of funk, reggae, wailing guitars, and Latin rhythms. One of my criticisms was that they didn't spotlight Felix enough. Well forget that. According to the band's PR rep, they've secured Justin Carney, formerly of Los Angeles jazz loungers Marty and Elayne, after buying out his contract. At least we can expect a lot more shows from Felix, who lives in Broward and will probably be playing a lot more around town.
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The Heavy Pets will perform with its new lineup Friday 10 p.m. at Tobacco Road. Admission costs $6. They have also lined up some shows opening for Particle in November in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.