Galactic 7.11.13

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot Photography)

New Orleans; Known for its amazing food, insane nightlife, and abundance of what we Americans call “Culture,” has also become a enticing hotspot for thriving musicians to come down to the South, set up shop, and show what they can do. One of the now biggest and more recognizable bands on our jamband scene that call New Orleans, Louisiana their home is Galactic. This dynamic, rock-n-roll playing, party starting group rages some good ole New Orleans funk every chance they get and it was no different for their recent show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. Playing at the smaller venue as a part of a package deal with their Red Rock’s show the next day, Galactic was determined to bring the heat from the very first beat.

The Fox was packed, and the crowd was ripping and roaring as the NOLA-based funk group took the stage with their now regular 6-man lineup. Drummer, Stanton Moore, is an absolute beast on the drum-kit and numerous times throughout the night could be seen literally trying to put a whole in one or more of his musical toys. His intense way of playing and great facial expressions prove that he puts his all into each and every performance. Robert Mercurio lays down a mean funky bass line and seems to be a key component in song transitions, solo choices, and overall structure of the groups music. He can be seen directing various members of the band through chord changes, tempo progressions, and even who is soloing next. The other members (including Corey Henry on trombone, Jeff Raines on guitar, Richard Vogel on organ, and Ben Ellman on saxophone) all play an integral role in producing the group’s funky sounds, but Mercurio and Moore truly (in my opinion) are a step above the rest. This was very evident during a drum and bass solo halfway through the second set as Moore led the charge in a jazzy-funk frenzy with Mercurio playing note for note along side of him. This rhythm section is not one to be missed, and I highly recommend you catch these two in any project they participate in.

Galactic’s horn section is also a very talented ensemble with Ben Ellman and Corey Henry playing off each other’s unique riffs and crazy sounds. Henry provides a youthful energy to the group and frequently takes a turn as lead vocalist (rapping) and crowd participation enthusiast. From song to song this horn section provides Galactic with a loud, fun, and very-talented duo who truly know how to engage a crowd and get the party started. Other than the usual fun and funky-ness which Galactic provides, they have added a new twist to their live performances in recent tours with the addition of Living Colour front man, Corey Glover, on vocals. The former rock-n-roll group lead singer brings a much more fierce and rocking nature to Galactic and his screeching vocals are a hit with crowds everywhere. In my opinion, other than the “Gimme Shelter” cover from the other night (which was epic) Mr. Glover takes away from the funky-ness of Galactic and has turned this band into much more of a rocking outfit. I completely understand why he is there, as he is a legend and has some of the best pipes in the business, but him being backed by one of the freshest and funkiest NOLA groups since The Meters is disappointing at best. Personally, I am very interested to see how much longer Glover will be with the band, as it doesn’t seem like it is a permanent relationship as of yet. Even with him taking away from the funk, the Fox Theatre show was still a raging occasion and the crowd was sure appreciative of the variety of music played.

Galactic is one of those bands that only come around Colorado once or twice a year, and yes I do wish they would go back to their older lineup and truly bring the funk back. Even with a rock-n-roll legend as their now front man, I recommend not missing this group as they do know how to get a party started. Also, watching Stanton Moore beat the absolute dog-shit out of his drums is not only hilariously entertaining, but truly shows how talented he really is.

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