Galactic take the ‘dise on a ride

A review of Galactic at the Paradise Rock Club on October 15

, Staff Writer

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: Galactic’s show was out of this world. They really blasted off from the get-go and kept things in orbit for the entirety of their two-and-a-half hour set. The band is light years ahead of most other funk acts out there. I guess you could say the show was pretty stellar.

Galactic entertained a fully-packed Paradise Rock Club this past Wednesday, a crowd filled with fans of their unique brand of funk music. They kicked things off right away with a loud raucous of a tune that largely featured saxophonist Ben Ellman ripping a screaming harmonica solo, followed by Jeff Raines wailing insanely loud riffs on his guitar. The opener was certainly up there as far as getting a show started on the right note, and Galactic did not let up.

It’s clear that the band is incredibly comfortable, both playing with each other as an ensemble and performing on stage in front of a huge crowd: they pass soloing duties between one another deftly, never missing a beat. One of the best demonstrations of the band’s cohesion came during an impromptu soloing session that had the horn players (Ellman on sax, guests Shamarr Allen and Corey Henry on the trumpet and trombone, respectively) trading eight-bar licks as the song organically built in intensity until the roof was surely about to collapse.

Drummer Stanton Moore led the charge, crashing cymbals and tearing apart his skins, forcing the rest of the band to up the volume to something awful, and the crowd loved it. Everyone (except for one guy, strangely) was dancing, waving their arms, rocking their heads back fitfully. After the show, more than one person commented on how their neck was going to be very sore the next day. The guest horn players of Allen and Henry added even more color to the already rich ensemble, letting loose insanely loud, brassy fanfares, reaching down to high-five those in the front row after blowing a particularly nasty solo. Allen showed off his chops by sustaining a note on his trumpet for well over a minute, if not two. It reached a point where the audience could only watch in disbelief as he kept on going.

As enjoyable as the concert was, it is certainly difficult to sustain such a high amount of energy for two and a half hours, and the concert hit a few lulls here and there (relatively). Just when there was any minor threat of losing the crowd, however, Galactic pulled a new trick out of their sleeves. Easily the best-received tune of the show was when they brought to the stage Raashan Ahmad and Headnodic of the opening act Crown City Rockers for a song. Ahmad grabbed a microphone and started rapping while the rest of the group powered through a ridiculously funky piece that had the audience waving their hands up and down to the beat, hopping up and down. The song came at the perfect time – things were beginning to grow just a little bit stale, and the atmosphere had started to wane, when all of a sudden they break out this tune and get everyone right back into the show. This would happen again towards the end of the set, when Allen and Henry would take turns throwing out verses.

Ultimately, Galactic’s show was one to be remembered. They captured the crowd immediately and, save for a few dips here and there, rocked the faces off of everyone at the venue. The crowd left the show sweaty and satisfied, ears ringing and exhausted from a long but thoroughly enjoyable set. Galactic are a band that knows the benefits of the live stage, and they take full advantage of the tools at their disposal, cramming as much sound as possible into The Paradise. It’s not easy to endure the onslaught for 150 minutes, but when all’s said and done it can’t be denied that the show was a fantastic one by a band who know their craft inside and out.

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