Thursday, October 28, 2004

Double Dip Galactic

I saw two Galactic performances this past weekend in NYC. I had not see the boys from the Crescent City in concert in almost a year. I was itching to see Galactic after I skipped out on three... er, two shows (Boston & New Haven to wtach the Yankees get spanked by the Sox) and after one show (Providence) was canceled. I was also bringing three newbies with me to experience a taste of New Orleans slam funk. This tour was the first time since the band started that they would be performing without their singer the Houseman. The songs would be all instrumentals and the band had to relearn and rearrange a lot of their older songs. I was wondering whether or not it was going to be better or worse. My initial thoughts... different. I miss some Houseman songs, but sometimes he killed the vibe of the shows with his slower love ballads. At any rate, I had an amazing time.
10.23.04 Irving Plaza, New York City, NY

Set I: Clockstopper, Crazyhorse Mongoose, Calypso Minor, Respect Yourself (w/ Mauves Staples), I’ll Take You There (w/ Mavis), Moil, Groovy Lady, Go Go, Garbage Truck

Set II: Funkybird >Tiger Roll, Space Headz, Hamp’s Hump (w/ Brian Mitchell & Marco Benevento), Doublewide > Burnin' It, Hangnail, Tippi Toes, Baker’s Dozen

E: Today’s Blues, Blackbird Special
As always, Jenna and Briana were running late and Bruce Cohen and I grabbed a few beers at Shades of Green before the show. Bruce is a drummer and we followed The Grateful Dead together back in 1994. In recent years I slowly got him hooked on Phish. He's a big fan of Jon Fishman and admires his style of drumming. The last few years Galactic was booked at Roseland Ballroom, one of my least favorite venues in NYC. The security is staffed by a bunch of Nazis, the sound sucks, and the place lacked the usual frantic energy that most Galactic shows undertake. Irving Plaza is much smaller and intimate. The sound quality is 1000% better. Plus, some of the best Galactic shows I ever saw were at Irving Plaza in the last 1990s.

The boys started out slow and eventually picked up steam. I told Bruce to keep an eye on Stanton Moore. Most of you know how I feel about Stanton. He's the best living drummer in this solar system. I have to say solar system because I firmly believe that Stanton's an alien. No one can play drums like he can. Smooth, yet aggressive, he kicks my ass everytime I see him. He's the cosmic glue that keeps Galactic pushing forward. Crazyhorse Mongoose is an older tune that I've been fond of over the years. They managed to weave a lot of older material in with newer songs and plenty of stuff off their last album. For the fourth song the boys invited Mavis Staples on stage. If you don't know who she is.... ouch. I feel sorry for you. She's a gospel legend. And her voice is as unique as there is. Set against the hard New Orleans groove of Galactic, she quickly took control and belted out covers of respect Yourself and a sizzling I'll Take You There. That was a special treat, and she was the first of several special guests throughout the two show run. Mavis' presence got the packed crowd going, and the remainder of the first set was high energy. The Joker told me a story how the guitar player Jeff Raines, had a tough time with playing at Irving Plaza. Supposedly, he would get freaked out by the crowd... since it was so close to the stage. He's definitely picked up the slack the last few years and rattled off a couple of nice solos over Stanton's backbeat. Go Go is a tune they don't play too often (or at least I always seem to miss it!) and Rich Vogel on keyboards was the MVP of that jam.

Mavis Staples with Galactic

At setbreak, the girls were still nowhere to be found. I grabbed a few drinks at the upstairs bar with Bruce and we moved up to as close to the stage as possible ... about the equivalent of fifth or sixth row. He wanted a better spot to watch Stanton Moore play. He was into the crowd and was digging the entire Galactic flow.

Second set was the best of the run. Ben Ellman (sax) and Robert Mercurio (bass) were bringing their best effort to keep the energy upbeat. Funkybird > Tiger Roll was tight and reminded me why I enjoyed Galactic so much ... to following them as far as San Francisco with Senor and through Colorado with Heather back in 1999-2000. The boys invited a few guests... the very tall Brian Mitchell in guitar and Marco Benevento on keys... to jam out one of my all time favorite covers: Hamp's Hump. Benevento impressed me. I heard him once before and I just found out he's playing with Mike Gordon on NYE in NYC at a late show at BB Kings. Hmmmmm. That would be interesting. Bruce bailed early and I eventually found Briana and Jenna. They had been inside for the entire second set but couldn't find us. Anyway, You could feel the floor shake during Doublewide with Stanton leading the charge on that entire tune. Tippi Toes is one of my favorite Funky meters tunes and Jeff Raines was having fun on that song. Looked like he got over his stage fright at Irving Plaza. They closed the set with Baker's dozen before encoring two decent tunes. The girls were having such a good time that they wanted the boys to keep playing! they were excited to be coming back to doa little more dancing the next night.
10.24.04 Irving Plaza, New York City, NY

Set I: Daydreaming, Forbidden Horn, Bongo Joe, Charlie Dozen, Blue Pepper (w/ Eric Krasno), Snowball (w/ Kraz), Move on (w/ Mike Doughty), People are Bad (w/ Mike Doughty), Circles (w/ Mike Doughty), Blackeyed Pea

Set II: Dump Truck, Mario Groove, Spy Hunter, Who Took The Happiness (w/ Chimi & Joe Russo & Eric Bolivar), Message (w /Krasno), Church (w/ Kraz & Scott Metzger--guitars), Dirtfloorcracker (w/ J.J. Grey), Woman to Woman (w/ J.J. & Jen Durkin, Sonny Michaels (back vox) & Chimi), Shibuya

E:Tlochloosa (w/ JJ Grey)
The second night was kinda blurry. I was definitely more wasted for night two than night one. Briana and Jenna were both looking forward to seeing a full show. Of course we were late and missed the first tune... waiting in line to check coats downstairs. We got up in the middle of Forbidden Horn... which I think is a newer tune. I didn't recognize it. Bongo Joe is off of Ruckus and Jenna recognized that song off of the CD I burned her. Then the boys brought out a few special guests for the rest of the set. Eric Krasno, guitarist from from Soulive came out and they smoked out a hot cover of Blue Pepper. Kraz came out for Snowball, and Mike Doughty played three songs... including Move On (one of his originals), People Are Bad, and Circles. I had been hearing good things about him and was pumped to see him live. Mike is the former front man from Soul Coughing. The boys closed the set with my favorite galactic tune... Blackeyed Pea. Insane. Jeff Raines and Stanton kicked ass.

I was feeling pretty good for the start of the second set with Dump Truck, Mario Groove, and Spy Hunter. Great start huh? Then they invited some more folks to play. Eric Krasno came out for Message and I love his licks. And two other dudes performed as well (I missed that bit I was at the bar). The highlight was when Jen Durkin from Deep Banana Blackout (remember them?) and brought down the house with Woman to Woman. JJ Grey had lots of stage time and he impressed me as well. I figured they'd close the set with a floor shaking Shibuya. It's my favorite part of the show, when they turn on the house lights and you can see everyone jumping up and down like maniacs!

"Yeah, that Stanton guy is an alien!" Jenna declared on our way out. Briana wanted to go see them at their next show. Yep, I got them hooked.

Here's what Bruce had to say:
Man, those guys freaking CRANK! I was gettin down with their flowism. I can't believe how many hot chicks are into that band either. Geezzzzzz! That place was like that Widespread Panic show all these young hotties running around and boogeying to the GALACTIC flowisms. It's defineately easier appreciating their stuff when you see them live. And that GEEK flo drummer man Stanton Moore....HOLY HARD HITTING! DRUM smashing! I was digging the stand up and play the back beats on the ride cymbal. True artisan flo. I guess you might be right. I mean Fishman rocks, but this guy Stanton is like a jazz monster.

No comments:

Post a Comment