Rant ‘N’ Roll: Galactic Mike Greenblatt September 5, 2012 Columns It must be something in the water. New Orleans musicians, generally speaking, are just better than anyone else. Walk down the streets of the French Quarter and the players playing in the street are good enough to gig in New York City nightclubs. In the dramatic series Treme, Wendell Pierce plays a trombone-totin’ musician and when he gigs, I watch with envy each episode as those people in those bars are rockin’ themselves silly and I want to go back. Galactic gave me that chance. They brought it from New Orleans to the MusikFest Café at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA, and for that I thank them and the adventurous booking policies of this great club. I got to be in one of those Crescent City crowds dancin’ silly, overcome with the joyousness, totally succumbing to the life-affirming lust and charm that only a band from New Orleans can conjure up like voodoo. For this tour, they have guest vocalist Corey Glover from Living Colour and damn if they didn’t do up “Cult Of Personality” fit to have a tantrum over. I mean, I was going into a St. Vitus dance of epileptic proportions. Encore? How ‘bout a cover of the Stones’ “Sympathy For The Devil” with all of us providing the “whoo whoo” for the whole song. I couldn’t talk the next morning. It was the kind of music that could bring one back to life. It did me. Don’t ask. Their new album, Carnivale Electricos (Anti-) also brings it. It’s an ode to Mardi Gras and how that feel seeps its way south to Carnival time in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Guests include The Neville Brothers, fresh-out-of-jail rapper Mystikal, samba star Moyseis Marques and Big Chief Juan Pardo, one of the youngest Big Chiefs in all of Louisiana. They even have the KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band on the album and before you start rolling your eyes, just know this ain’t your typical oompah John Philip Sousa shit. And if you’re going to delve into the Brazilian oeuvre, you have got to cover Sergio Mendez and they do on “Magalenha.” So on this night in Bethlehem, Galactic started with an instrumental overture of epic proportions that gave each player the chance to strut their considerable stuff. Solos abounded but instead of being boring, the entire crowd was galvanized, put down their individual pizzas, knocked over their mugs of beers and started dancing. The whole front of the venue had been cleared of tables for this gig and that was smart. Glover then hit the stage but the strength, the power, the might, was the band. True, he provided some sweet icing (especially at the end), but it was the horns who had us. That and the propulsive pounding of the rhythm section that wormed its way into the groin to force us into perpetual motion. The man with the trombone was a true shaman, summoning up a mojo that kept us enthralled yet constantly moving. He was a veritable gangsta of trombone. There was a real mob figure once in Newark, NJ where I grew up, Longie Zwillman “The Boss of Newark,” so I’m gonna call this dude Trombone Longie. He rocked the house like you wouldn’t believe. There was also a saxophone player who oozed sex out of his sax on the rare slow moments but, when aroused, brought back memories of the great King Curtis. And the guitar/bass/drum trinity was holy. No doubt. The opening act, Violet Says 5, from Washington D.C., brought a Chili Pepper rap to a funk and hard rock place that, yeah, got me up. I can’t remember the last time I danced to an opening act. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.