British soul rockers (and current beer commercial soundtrack champions) the Heavy kicked off their 2012 U.S. tour in Cleveland, Ohio Thursday night (Aug. 23). Lead singer Kelvin Swaby led the group through an enthusiastic show that almost completely overcame the difficulties inherent in performing at a corporate promotional event.

You see, this was a free ticket kinda gig, which meant at least half of the people in the crowd were there to see a "rock concert," like the way you'd go to the zoo, as opposed to specifically wanting to see the Heavy. Several of these yahoos posed for photos in front of the band as they performed -- the way you'd stand in front of the Eiffel Tower or Mt. Rushmore.

The main goal for many seemed to be to talk as much as possible until the Heavy played the inevitable encore of 'How You Like Me Now.' Between that and the beer "spokesmodels" trying to hand out free T-shirts, key chains and some sort of berry-flavored beer every two minutes, it was rather hard to focus on the music.

Which is a shame, because the Heavy are a fantastic live act. With the release of the new 'The Glorious Dead,' they now have three very good albums of soul and horn-drenched rock 'n' roll to draw from. Since their main job was to promote the new record, and since it has only been out for two days, Swaby spent a good deal of time teaching us the infectious call-and-response choruses before his bandmates (guitarist Dan Taylor, bassist Spencer Page and drummer Chris Ellul) kicked off each track.

That, plus the band's 17-hour flight to the States the night before and the non-attentive crowd, would normally be a recipe for disaster. It's a testimony to the songwriting and performance skills of the Heavy that they were able to focus on and entertain the true music lovers in the room so well.

New songs like 'Big Bad Wolf' (our part:"Whatchooo sayyy?"), 'Don't Say Nothing,' and 'Same Ol'' sounded more lively than they do even on the new record, and it turns out 'How You Like Me Now' doesn't suffer in person from all that chopped-up television and movie repetition. Our main complaint: Where the heck was 'That Kind of Man'?