Galactic : The Paradise, Boston MA 7/19/2006

Coming fresh off the road from serving opening duties for Jam/Prog/fuse-masters Umphrey’s Mcgee, Galactic tore through two sets of New Orleans brand funk at Boston’s Paradise rock club. Opening the show with the poignant nod to their devastated hometown, the new tune “FEMA” got a rather uncharacteristic mid-tempo set rolling. It quickly became apparent that the energy behind the group this evening was coming from sax/harp player Ben Ellman, and drummer Stanton Moore. Galactic’s secret weapon, Moore not only has the beats, but the stage presence to rock the house. As he rocketed out of his seat during his high-energy drum-fills, fans were consistently treated to what folks within the Galactic camp have patented the “Mooregasm.”

Returning to the stage for set two, Galactic got things rolling with an energy and ferocity that the first set lacked. “Hot Pants” set the tone, and as the group consistently heated things up, they welcomed opener Jamie McLean to the stage for a jam on “Black Talk” that demonstrated both parties ability to musically converse on stage in a context that seemed completely natural.

The group tore into the rhythmically bizarre “Manic Depression,” an old Jimi Hendrix Experience favorite that not only worked the crowd’s sense of familiarity, but also gave Moore yet another chance to show off his tight sense of time. Serving justice to a Hendrix tune is a tough enough task as is, but for Moore, the big trick would be his ability to stay on par with the unique time signatures Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell mastered way back in the day.

As the group returned to the stage for their encore, Ellman made a reference to the tragic events Hurricane Katrina brought upon New Orleans in August of 2005 before tearing through a heartfelt rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” As the song choice would suggest, not only did they "bring the funk," but they did so in a context that was socially and politically relevant. They reminded us of the work in New Orleans that still needs to be done, but more importantly, of the joy that their cultural roots will forever produce, through the good and the bad. This was no simple task to achieve, and obviously, Galactic is more than just another simple band.

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Photos by Andrew Bruss

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