Galactic : Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA 2/4/10

To anyone who has doubted the strength of the music scene in the New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina era, prepare yourself for a new tidal wave of funk that has been defining a different generation while still remaining loyal to its roots.  Last Thursday night, fans were prescribed a heavy dose of jazz-funk fused with sax and brass elements, when Galactic brought “The Big Easy” to the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. 


The evening featured a great opening set as Tea Leaf Green got things started around 9:00pm.  Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the four-piece jam dropped in to support Galactic on two dates (New York and Philadelphia) while in the middle of a cross-country tour that extends into April. 


Fresh out of “Who Dat Nation,” Galactic took the stage just before 11:00pm to an elbow-to-elbow capacity crowd at the TLA on South Street.   The same famous South Street that was host to Mardi Gras riots back in 2001. 


For those who haven’t heard of Galactic, I’d strongly recommend getting on board as soon as possible.  The tenured group has worked with some of the many great funk musicians that came out of the Cajun and delta blues and former era along with many rising stars.  They have worked with the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint and John Boutte while featuring more current artists such as Trombone Shorty, Boots Riley and Mr. Lif.    


Accompanying Galactic’s rhythm section Thursday night was long-time funk percussionist Cyril Neville, of The Neville Brothers.  Dancing in sparking red shoes, the color of Dorothy’s glimmering Kansas heel-clickers, Cyril provided the beat and backup vocals throughout the show.


Feeding off the Philly energy and the band’s togetherness, Galactic put down a solid jam as elaborate solos were had by all.  The band’s drummer, Stanton Moore, kept the music in synch as he tore up his drum set with double bass kickers, huge snare rolls and stand up cymbal crashes.  Sporting a New Orleans Saints black and gold tee shirt, Ben Ellman defied the standards with unreal saxophone and harmonica playing during the set.


The band also featured a New Orleans native who made me appreciate the trombone so much more than I did while I played the instrument during marching band half-time shows.  Trombonist, Corey Henry brought the brass hard Thursday night as he busted out solo after solo over the jammin’ groove Galactic put down.  Midway through the show, Henry cleared the masses of fans near the edge of the stage so he could drop into the audience and bring the music to an even more intimate level.  The crowd made way as Corey strutted all over the venue eventually winding up perched by a side ledge at the height of the solo.  It was unreal!  I’m thinking to myself, how are his lips still functioning?  


Out in support of their latest album, the band played songs from their newest release titled “Ya-Ka-May,” which hits stores on February 9th.  When I caught up with Galactic’s guitarist Jeff Raines a few weeks back he described the album as somewhat of a tribute to New Orleans, but less of what people thought that standard definition meant.  “We wanted to do something new and original that was more indicative of the New Orleans we live in now,” says Raines of the project.


Music lovers can look forward to many opportunities in the coming months to see Galactic live all across the country.   They put on such a slamming  show and you never know what to expect from the band that named their newest album after a band-favorite dish.    

Related Content

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide