So how does a group of (mostly) non-native college students go on to become ambassadors of New Orleans funk? For Galactic, of which all but one of the band's current members relocated to the Crescent City in the early Nineties, it took more than just practice and persistence. It took respect: For Galactic to gain the respect of its peers and elders the way that it has, the band had to approach the New Orleans sound as reverent students. And, while the band itself makes no claims to that sound, its members have collectively and individually put years of time and energy into steeping themselves in the musical history of the city they call home.
Sure, Galactic's first album, Coolin' Off in 1996, sounds like the work of a Meters-infatuated retro act. It was even recorded at Sea-Saint Studios, the same legendary location where the Meters recorded their hallowed early works under the hand of New Orleans music guru Allen Toussaint. Since then, however, Galactic's main thrust has been modernization all the way, with each album showcasing a concerted effort to do something new. Always heavy on the instrumental jams, the band appears this time with guest horn players who occasionally drop a rhyme or two in the set. But don't let the experimentation and jam band following fool you -- Galactic likes to hit you with gut-level grooves that never stray too far from bona fide funk.
Galactic performs with special guests Trombone Shorty and the Lee Boys. Friday, January 9, Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets cost $22. Ages 18+ with ID. 954-727-0950; www.jointherevolution.net.
-- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni