with Fourth Dimension, and Bobby Lee Rodgers
Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Galactic is a band that is equally capable of keeping ecstacy-fueled neohippies raving till dawn in a festival tent or freeing the limbs and booties of boozing Nawlin's folks in classic spots like Tipitina's. By nature, the band is a New Orleans jazz-funk outfit. And, by nature, the guys are also best as a backup band -- providing a solid base that makes it easy for guest musicians of all sorts to come in and blow the roof off. Saturday at Revolution, Galactic hung close to its core by bringing funk and key guests to a Lauderdale crowd that was ready to party. The show was strong overall, losing steam only here and there and never for long.
The show began with the core five members (a guitar, bass, sax, keys, and drums arrangement) joined by Corey Henry, of Rebirth Brass Band, on trombone. They opened with a few irresistible funk jams, heavy on the horns, with Henry blowing like crazy. The band has been together for nearly two decades, and it shows. Their groove is mature and reliable, though it could get old if it weren't for the guests adding spice.
After a few French Quarter party starters, the band brought out the evening's second guest, another Corey. This one being Corey Glover, lead singer of Living Colour, a band that gained fame in the late '80s with "Cult of Personality," a tune that you know but may not know that you know. Anyway, he was very energetic, wore overalls, sang powerfully, and mixed very well with the band. He would come off and on stage throughout the set but would never sing his biggest hit. They would, however, hit the funk classic "I Don't Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky," Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times," and Galactic's recent single "Heart of Gold." All of which Glover and the band delivered well.
After Glover's first couple of songs, he brought out the third guest of the night, Roosevelt Collier, the pedal steel player from Miami's Lee Boys. Rather than taking a seat at a pedal steel, he stood and wore a lap steel guitar around his neck -- which he proceeded to use to take the already strong groove to new heights with wild, fiery playing. The crowd was nuts for Collier, who, according to one audience member, has a tendency to sit in with bands and completely blow shit apart. He certainly did that here for the entirety of his time on stage, which amounted to three or so jams.
There were a couple of spaces in the guest-heavy set in which the guys in Galactic were left on stage by themselves. As a break, this worked really well -- providing some mellow funk bits as relief from the blaring onslaught of party jams. Late in the set, sans Collier and Glover, there was a bit of a lull period where the groove just seemed to be a bit tired. This little portion featured a somewhat dull cover of Hendrix's "Manic Depression" and was brought to an end by a rallying, set-closing Mardi Gras segment lead by a clapping, crowd-rousing Henry. The jam featured lots of crowd participation, a lively sax-trombone lick exchange, and a drum solo. It was a strong end to the set.
For the encore, Glover came back out with the band for a tune; then there was an instrumental that featured another drum solo. For this one, Stanton Moore went crazy on the kit, then walked out to the front of the stage with his snare -- without skipping a beat -- where the rest of the band gathered around him holding stuff for him to drum on, including a guitar. It was a wild end to a solid evening of music.
The crowd: Featured a Keith Richards look-alike, a Harry Potter villain, and a classic Widespread Panic scene character named Disco Cowboy.
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Random detail: Throughout the show, many people approached Disco Cowboy for photos. At one point, a very attractive blond woman approached him for... something else. "I want to be all up there," she said. Then gave him a peck on the lips. "Did you hear that?" he asked me. "I'll be right back." And he disappeared for 15 minutes. When he returned, his report was brief but sufficient: "That was fun. That was very fun."
By the way: Bobby Lee Rogers played before Galactic and was on fire.