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The Heavy do something ‘nasty’ at The Independent

The HeavyBy Laura Tsu //

The Heavy //
The Independent – San Francisco
April 26th, 2016 //

“Let’s do something nasty,” suggested Kelvin Swaby, lead singer of The Heavy, last Tuesday night at The Independent.

For the English four-piece from Bath, doing something “nasty” meant performing deep rock ‘n’ roll rhythms with soulful vocals for a sold-out crowd in SF.

The Heavy are no newcomers to the music industry. The band formed almost a decade ago, and it has produced a number of hits over that time. The quartet’s most famous song “How You Like Me Now?” garnered it many new listeners after being featured in a TV commercial during this year’s Super Bowl as well as in the HBO series “Entourage” and the video game “Borderlands 2”.

The Heavy

However, there was no intention by the band to remain a one-hit wonder. With four studio albums under their belt, The Heavy claim to be perfectionists, and nearly every track they have released is mastered with their bold trademark. Recently, they have been on the road non-stop. March meant multiple performances while in Austin for South by Southwest, and April brought them to the U.S. for two weekends at Coachella along with a West Coast tour that included Northern California dates in SF and Santa Cruz.

Despite the exhaustion that often comes with touring, The Heavy didn’t lack any energy on this night. Swaby, in fact, proved to be the definition of a frontman. His natural charisma sapped away any boredom and tiredness, delivering punches of zest and booming vocals. Subsequently, audience participation happened naturally as Swaby never quite stopped moving and neither did the capacity crowd.

The other three members of The Heavy fabricated the rock ‘n’ roll vibrancy throughout the set. Daniel Taylor (guitar) and Spencer Page (bass) created dense riffs that were punctuated by the rhythms of Chris Ellul (drums) and sprinted side by side with Swaby’s voice. Taylor, Page and Ellul also sang backup vocals, stacking deeper tones behind Swaby’s higher-pitched voice.

As all of these features meld together, neo-soul joins indie rock to create a dance-able frenzy for fans. But together, their instruments, individual talents and dynamism also amalgamate into one “nasty” live performance.

Setlist:
Can’t Play Dead
The Apology
Not the One
Miss California
Short Change Hero
Big Bad Wolf
Curse Me Good
“Slave to Your Love”
Same Ol’
Since You Been Gone
Last Confession
Turn Up
What Happened to the Love?

Encore:
What Makes a Good Man?
How You Like Me Now?

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