As hundreds of bodies moved rhythmically and balloons floated about the sweltering and smoke-filled Electric Factory, Galactic’s Sight of Sound Tour entranced concert-goers with their sultry New Orleans funk last Thursday.
The three-hour set looked and smelled like a Grateful Dead show, but the crowd acted like they were receiving shock therapy.
“Come on people,” lead singer Theryl “the House Man” de Clouet said to the crowd.
“This is a party, not a concert.”
Galatic has performed in Philly since 1996 and has continued to return with more than one intention.
“Cheesesteaks,” saxophonist Ben Ellman said before the show.
“We go to Pat’s, but I like Geno’s the best. I do the whiz man, you know? I’m the only guy in the band that does the whiz.”
Besides doing the whiz while in Philly, the band will be doing something out of the ordinary throughout their current tour: having a mural painted onstage while they’re performing.
Galactic’s Philly performance was the first time they experimented with the mural.
Artists SKW and Doze masterfully painted the mural during the show, adding new dimensions with every song, keeping their heads bopping and bodies jiving while beams of light illuminated their work.
“The concept behind it is they’re making different pieces every night,” Ellman said.
“It definitely has the visual element that you can’t get with rock ‘n’ roll lighting.”
The band started the party with “Pocket Full of Sapp” and jammed into other songs like “All Behind You Now” and “Tigeroll.”
Their song transition was smooth and band members strolled in and out of solos as unnoticeable as a mole burrowing from one hole in the ground to another.
These solos gave band members the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Drummer Stanton Moore had some more time for his solo and found himself off his seat by the end of it.
Ellman was the most animated of the bunch and did most of the talking.
When it was time for him to perform his solo, he had veins popping out of his head, while playing a doomsday-like sound on the sax.
And when he wailed on the harmonica, he looked like he was having a seizure.
At one point in the show there was as many as 12 musicians sharing the same stage, producing an eloquent sound.
The ground looked like a garbage compost, body odors reached the high heavens and the sound coming from Richard Vogel’s Hammond B-3 organ was glorious; everyone in the crowd definitely had a good time.
“They’re not the audience that’s necessarily coming to hear some pop song or coming to see some sex idol or rock star guy,” Ellman said.
“They’re into the music, which truly brought them into it. Not because of some tattooed, spiky haired 18-year-old singer.”
After the tour, the band will head into the studio to record their fifth album.
“I really don’t enjoy the studio that much. Being on stage and having the audiences’ reaction and the energy is absolutely incredible,” Ellman said.
“It’s really what this band thrives on. We’re grateful we have an audience that likes to listen to us.”
Chris Silva can be reached at email@example.com.