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    The Heavy Heavy w/ Phillip-Michael Scales

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    This concert features a general admission standing room only. For more details about Essex, check out our FAQ page at www.essexroc.com/faq

    THE HEAVY HEAVY

    The Heavy Heavy create the kind of unfettered rock-and-roll that warps time and place, immediately pulling the audience into a euphoric fugue state with its own sun-soaked atmosphere. Led by lifelong musicians Will Turner and Georgie Fuller, the Brighton, UK-based band began with a shared ambition of “making records that sound like our favorite records ever,” and soon arrived at a reverb-drenched collision of psychedelia and blues, acid rock and sunshine pop. As revealed on their gloriously hazy debut EP Life and Life Only, The Heavy Heavy breathe an incandescent new energy into sounds from decades ago, transcending eras with a hypnotic ease.

    In dreaming up Life and Life Only, The Heavy Heavy tapped into many of the musical touchstones that Turner describes as “deeply entrenched in our psyche”: Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, British Invasion pop acts like the Hollies, folk-blues duo Delaney & Bonnie, to name just a few. Pushing past the confines of reverential pastiche, the band imbues their output with a strangely charmed quality and heady authenticity undeniably tied to their status as artists on the fringe, both philosophically and geographically. To that end, Turner hails from the remote town of Malvern, an enchanted stretch of the English countryside once frequented by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and Kate Bush. “It’s famous for the healing qualities of its water, and there are ancient trees where the Druids used to worship—there’s a sort of magical-hippie aspect to it,” he notes. Fuller, meanwhile, elevates every track with her spellbinding vocals and magnetic yet wholly unaffected presence, building upon a kaleidoscopic career that’s included performing at Montreux Jazz Festival as a teenager as well as acting in the London theater.

    Rooted in their effusive harmonies and fuzzed-out guitar work, Life and Life Only contains the first track Turner and Fuller ever recorded as The Heavy Heavy, a lilting piece of psych-pop titled “Go Down River.” “I’d had this song a while and couldn’t quite finish it, but then once Georgie added her vocals it all came together,” Turner recalls. “The male-female harmonies gave it this whole new sound; it just felt like lying in the green grass on a hot sunny day.” Self-produced in a London flat, the six-track project also brings that transportive power to songs like “Miles and Miles” (a bright and jangly number whose whirlwind velocity calls to mind late-’60s/early-’70s road dramas like Easy Rider and Vanishing Point), “Man of the Hills” (a groove-heavy homage to Turner’s otherworldly hometown), and “Sleeping on Grassy Ground” (a sweetly languid epic featuring a near-operatic vocal performance from Fuller, a classically trained singer).

    With their full-length debut due out in next year, The Heavy Heavy recently expanded their lineup to five members, allowing for an even more vast and bombastic sound now touched with heavenly four-part harmonies. A massively prolific outfit who’ve written and recorded hundreds of songs in the last two years alone, the band feels perpetually inspired by the pursuit of making music that provides a rarefied pleasure. “The driving force behind all our songwriting is to feel good, and to make other people feel good too,” Fuller points out. And thanks to their uncanny grace as sonic alchemists, The Heavy Heavy ultimately perform a certain magic with their music: eliciting a sublime daze that goes far beyond pure escapism.

    In a little over one year The Heavy Heavy have toured relentlessly in the United States and Europe, selling out shows from London to Chicago and garnering numerous accolades from both fans and critics. The Guardian deemed the band “one to watch” and praised their “thrillingly instinctive retro rock;” NME listed them as an Essential Emerging Artist for 2023. The Heavy Heavy appeared on national television on CBS Saturday Morning, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Their singles “Miles & Miles” and “Go Down River” reached the top 5 of the Billboard AAA and Americana Radio Charts. The band also landed high profile placements, such as Netflix’s popular series Outer Banks. ATO Records released an expanded version of their EP Life and Life Only in March 2023, which includes harmony-laden covers of Father John Misty’s “Real Love Baby, CSNY’s “Guinnevere,” and Jonathan Wilson’s “Desert Raven.”

    PHILLIP-MICHAEL SCALES

    Phillip-Michael was born in Michigan, forged in Chicago, and now lives in Nashville, TN. He grew up with B.B. King calling him "nephew" and calls his music "Dive Bar Soul," a blend of Indie Rock storytelling and the passion of the blues. In February of 2022, he caught the attention of Ellen Degeneres who featured him on her show.

    Growing up, Phillip-Michael Scales didn't understand what it meant that his aunt's close friend, the guitar player who called him "Nephew" and he called "Uncle B," was B.B. King. Once Phillip-Michael began guitar less, the significance became so clear that he shied away from soloing and most things blues. Instead, he fell in love with songwriting when an English teacher told him "A great writer can make their reader identify with anyone." The trouble was he couldn't find his story in the blues.

    With a fierce independent streak and a passion for performing, Scales fronted his own indie bands, wrote and recorded his own music, and worked to make a name for himself on his own terms. All the while, his "Uncle B" just smiled a knowing smile and encouraged him to "stay with it." Their relationship grew closer as Scales began to discover "the blues" in his personal and professional life.

    When his Uncle B passed away, Scales began incorporating more of the blues into his music as a way to honor him. "These days I'm finding more of my story in the blues. A lot has led me here between politics, my identity, and the idea of Legacy." The result is a sound he calls "Dive Bar Soul" which takes a bit of indie rock storytelling and couples it with the passion of the blues.

    His single "Find a Way" attracted national radio attention in 2022 and garnered an invite to perform on the Ellen Degeneres Show. His music has taken him all the way to the Middle East, as well as festivals across Europe and North America. He has opened for Milky Chance, Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains), Caravan Palace, Fantastic Negrito, The New Respects, Anderson East, Guster, The Record Company, and Cory Brannan.


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