Kiss The Sky and Heavy Cream Pay Tribute to Psychedelic Icons

All images by Lauren Silvestri, unless noted otherwise

As a millennial who has a deep love for classic rock, especially 60’s psychedelia, I often lament how I will never be able to see my rock heroes perform live. Thankfully, there are a plethora of tributes in the Philly area that celebrate the music of these iconic bands.

On Tuesday, May 30th at World Cafe Live, Kiss The Sky: The Jimi Hendrix RE-Experience and Heavy Cream: A Tribute to Cream celebrated the 50th anniversary of albums central to the psychedelic rock period: the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced? and Axis: Bold as Love and Cream’s Disraeli Gears and Fresh Cream.

The show was held the day after Memorial Day, and the show organizers’ took advantage of the date to pay tribute to all who currently serve and who have served the United States armed forces. Jimi Hendrix himself enlisted in 1961 and was in the 101st Airborne Division. Opening the show singing the National Anthem was Stephen Desko of The Land of Ozz.

Heavy Cream, with “Ginger Baker” and “Jack Bruce” sharing vocals

Despite their members – Dion Paci, Steve Iannettoni and Billy “The Kid” Thoden – being no older than 20, Heavy Cream were able to play the complicated music of Cream as well as any music veteran. Thoden who played as “Eric Clapton” especially was prodigious in his ability. They stormed through many of Cream’s classics, including the monster hits “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Strange Brew,” and “White Room.”

Heavy Cream

Kiss The Sky: The Jimi Hendrix RE-Experience stars Jimy Bleu, the world’s longest running Jimi Hendrix tribute artist. Just like the guitar legend, Jimy Bleu is a virtuoso, left handed guitarist. He has also been a touring member of Jimi’s Experience and Cry of Love bassist, Billy Cox‘s Band of Gypsy’s Experience band. It was uncanny to see Bleu, dressed in Hendrix’s traditional fashion, flawlessly perform Hendrix’s music while also master his iconic moves – playing behind his back, gyrating the guitar on the floor – although he skipped lighting his guitar on fire.

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Bleu switched out the “Noel Redding” and “Mitch Mitchell” members in between his set to play music from Hendrix’s project Band of Gypsys, with musicians filling in as “Billy Cox” and “Buddy Miles.”

Band of Gypsys

Later in the night, featured local musicians performed a short acoustic set in honor of the late Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. The Gregg Allman tribute was performed by Lou Maresca of Live At The Fillmore: The Definitive Tribute to the Original Allman Brothers, Joe Mass of Broken Arrow and AJ Hager of Kiss The Sky and Michael Allman’s Mile High ClubThey played a few songs from Allman’s extensive repertoire, including a gorgeous rendition of “Melissa.”

Musicians pay tribute to Gregg Allman. Photo provided by Kiss The Sky

The night ended with Jimy Bleu returning on stage for a few more Jimi Hendrix Experience songs, with Billy “The Kid” Thoden returning as Eric Clapton for an epic showdown between Hendrix and Clapton. If it weren’t for the camera phones flashing in the audience, I would have thought it was really 1967 – if only I could be so lucky.

 

See the experience for yourself the next time Kiss The Sky comes to town! Follow their website here for upcoming tour dates. 

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