Often, it’s easy to complain that most of what gets played on the radio is six degrees away from actual music, and to lament that technology is being used to strip all of the soul out of the art. While some music critics contend that this is true for the majority of top 40, there is an occasionally a band that disproves this, and Galactic is one of them.
The band manages to blend electronic tricks with serious instrumental and vocal talent, to create a sound that is entirely unique. The band was established back in 1994 by two childhood friends who fell in love with the rich sound of New Orleans funk when they moved from D.C. to Louisiana for college.
Since its inception, the band has gone through many evolutionary phases, and currently features a stable quintet of musicians who are accompanied by various guest artists for both live performances and studio recording sessions. Their roster of visitors includes underground and platinum selling artists that maintain a standard of musical excellence and freshness, while keeping the sound interesting and different.
Though initially dedicated solely to New Orleans funk, over the course of their 10 albums the group has developed a modern style that combines elements of hip hop, electronica, fusion and jazz, and that creates a soulful and engaging sound that is completely mind-blowing.
Galactic’s latest album is its first dedicated to Carnivale. “Carnivale Electricos” manages to incorporate modern elements and classic funk grooves in a fresh way that perfectly conveys that feeling of celebration that is central to Mardi Gras.
The band performed Feb. 24 – three days after Fat Tuesday – at Union Transfer, for a perfectly sized crowd: dense, but not to the point of inciting claustrophobia. The show was all ages, but the audience consisted mostly of males mid-to-late twenties. The air was musky and patrons were mellow, happy and dancing throughout the performance. Corey Glover of Living Color and Corey Henry of the Rebirth Bass Band joined the Galactic for sets of songs that bled into one another perfectly so that the party atmosphere was continuous. Though the songs were distinct from one another, they flowed in a way that set the party atmosphere and never let up.
Illuminated by colored lights and Carnivale-themed set pieces, the stage was crowded with musicians who, for the most part, just stood up and played. No gimmicks, no jumping, no explosions – just a bunch of guys with bass creating mesmerizing music. Galactic executes their art with innovation and style and their success serves as a testament to the value of craftsmanship in music, even in an industry that tends to forget.
Victoria Marchiony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.