Galactic In Rochester
While sitting at my computer, sorting through some MusicMarauders related business; I noticed that one of my friends, Jordan had posted on Facebook that she was going to see Galactic. With a burst of excitement, I pulled up Galactic's website. A free show in Rochester, NY? How come I was not aware of this? Was it possible that with how busy I was with MusicMarauders, that I had overlooked the core motivation of producing such a site? Live music.
I had been chasing after Stanton Moore for an interview for a few months after the cancelation of our first scheduled interview. I sent Stanton a text message as well as an e-mail letting him know that I would be at the show and looking to get an interview if possible. With that, I collected my camera, notebook, and handheld digital recorder and made my way towards Rochester.
Arriving in Rochester, I realized that I didn't have directions to the event at all... I had just kind of shown up in town. After a phone call to my personal assistant (my mother) I was able to locate the "Concert in The Park". I paid the five dollar event parking fee and brought the Jeep to rest in a parking garge directly across from the parking lot where I would be seeing Galactic. I approached the entrance to the small parking lot/venue, which to my surprise was completely enclosed by gates and railing. I made my way up the rows of gated lines towards a plethora of security.
"Open your bag." One woman said, rudely.
"It's just my camera and notebook." I stated while complying.
"I don't care. Does it have changable..." She began to ask.
"No." I said with a smile, cutting off her obvious question about my camera/lens.
"You're all set." she said.
I wasn't able to walk more than five feet without being stopped again. This time by an unintelligent looking man wanting my ID.
"I'm not drinking yet. I'm just coming in to obtain a schedule because I am covering the event." I said, getting a little irritated.
"I don't care." He said.
So out came the ID and on went a bracelet. Just as I thought I was finally good to go, I was harshly stopped by another gentleman.
"What's in the bag?" He barked at me.
"My camera!" I snapped back. "That woman right there already checked it." I said pointing five feet behind me through the group of five plus security guards.
The man glanced over my shoulder and the woman who checked my camera back initially, who stated "He's all set."
With that I began to walk into the venue, when the security gard grabbed me by the arm.
"If you don't take your hand off of me right now there is going to be serious problems." I said staring right into the man's eyes.
"Open your bag." he said, trying to compinsate for the weakness created by his sad existance.
"Fuck it." I said and opened the bag.
The man nodded and I walked on, only to get twenty feet away to hear him yell, "You need a bracelet!" I ignored him and continued walking.
The kicker of this whole non-sensical situation was, I was the only concert goer at the venue as it was five o'clock... There was no reason to search me, especially with the pestering furosity that they utilized.
The event didn't have any kind of schedule, and not one of the handful of staff members that I spoke with was able to help me at all. With a bit of frusteration, I left the venue to walk around downtown Rochester to take photos and wander. I returned to the venue to find a few early early arrivers, like myself. I entered the security line and went through some similar non-sense to the first time entering. I found my way over to the vendors, got a bite to eat, and headed over to spread out on a piece of ashphault.
I bit into the pita/roll up that I had purchased just as I made eye contact with a familiar face. The gentleman smiled and jogged over with excitement. It was a friend from the music community, Jambase! We talked, shared stories, and listened to the opening band "Los Straight Jackets". Their music was extremely generic surf rock, and to make up for their lack of spectacular musical ability, they were all wearing mexican luchidor masks with matching black clothes and doing sycronized dance moves. From the begining I viewed them as a filler.
After a song or two we went off to kill some time elsewhere, wandering around just outside of the venue. Upon our return, we were denied access to the venue.
"No re-entry." A security gaurd said, looking pleased.
"There are no signs stating that we can't re-enter." I said, "... And the gentleman at the exit didn't say anything."
"Too bad." The man said.
"This is bullshit." I clearly stated. "I am here to cover the event for a media outlet."
"Alright, this time..." The man said feeling really good about himself and his control of the situation.
"Fuck you." I said, feeling really irritated at that point.
Usually I am avery controlled person, but after all of the non-sense and ego building that was taking place, I was pretty fed up. Most city fests that I have attended are usually not enclosed, and security is usually really laid back. This was the exact opposite.
Re-entering the venue to see Galactic, I ran into my friends, Jordan, Megan and Chris. Jordan and I grabbed a couple of Chardonnays and we all headed towards the stage for some Galactic. As we did, Megan turned to me and asked if I wanted backstage passes. Backstages passes for a parking lot show? ... Huh? Although, to increase both the ease of making the interview with Stanton Moore happen and the ease of getting a few good shots; I gratefully excepted.
I decided to start the night off backstage where I could ensure some good shots before I got to schwilly. Galactic hit the stage with energy. The band smiled as they broke it down, New Orleans funk style. A song or two deep, Galactic invited to the stage, Cyril Neville.
The jams were indeed funky as Galactic along with Cyril (formerly of the Neville Brothers) brought some really talented heart-felt musicianship to the excitable Rochester crowd. There was one thing that caught me off guard though; the addition of Corey Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band. This cat threw down hard on the trombone. I mean this cat could play, but in my opinion, it seemed all of the focus was on him. The whole show he stood front and center, incorporating hip-hop and call and response type tactics. Now, don't get me wrong, I am down with hip-hop, ect. But, I would much rather the focus be on Galactic's straight funk.
To Corey's credit, he did a great job of getting the crowd into it. There were a couple of times that the crowd was going absolutely nuts! I mean absolutely flipping out, jumping up and down, throwing their hands back and fourth.
The show itself left me wondering what the focus of Galactic was. What was it that they were trying to accomplish? Was it popularity, diversity in their musical repitoir? I expected funk and I got funk. But what I also got was a heavy dose of hip-hop. For me, it took away from the experience. It made me feel as if they were reaching. They did it well, but I much prefer driving funk as opposed to a cover of "Lottie Dottie"...
Speaking directly to the musicianship... Top notch. There is not one lacking member of the band. The Galactic project itself is one of the strongest collective projects on the scene. Stanton Moore is absolutely mind-blowing. His chops are so solid, and his command of the drums leads me to believe whole-heartedly that he is one of the best drummers on our scene.
I am curious as to what the future holds for Galactic...
The end of the night came, and I was left with a choice to make, head backstage and attempt to interview Stanton, or see to it that one of my intoxicated friends made it home safely. With that, an opportunity was lost. Or was it?
The following day Stanton e-mailed me to follow up with the previous day's miss. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an interview with one of the scene's greats...