My trip up to Toad's Place was the perfect picture of one of my favorite aspects of our little world. I made a new friend through my Hershey experiences who drove me up with four others I had never met before. Maybe this is just NYC....I often encounter that "who the hell are you and why are you talking to me" look when I approach strangers but that never happens to me at the shows I go to. Within moments, our ride in the hemisphere sized Suburban was like a reunion of old friends. Speaking of which, it's been a while since I saw Galactic do a two set show on their own so I was happy to return to a night of hammerfunk which our group decided was the most appropos way to describe Galactic's sound.

The music began with a mellowed version of The Beastie Boys' Root Down which curved right into their customary opening of instrumentals before the coming of the Houseman. With "The Drummin' Whore" bouncing up and down on his stool, the tunes inspired a rhythm in my head of gotta play gotta play gotta play which suits the Tazmanian Devil of live music quite nicely.

They come from a town where musicians play constantly, every night, every day, every moment they're not asleep and dreaming of more opportunities to refine their chops which shows in Galactic's well seasoned rips & driving underbellies. They are voodoo children of the finest order, throwing every bit of themselves into the mix while it seems to me bassist Robert Mercurio stands out as the one wearing the pointy wizard's hat adorned with Lucky Charms. Out came Hamp's Hump which sounded exactly as if it was conceived in Anne Rice's basement one sultry New Orleans evening with blood curdling force that drew everyone on our side of the net to it's power (thus ends the New Orleans references).

And what would a Galactic show be without the vocal interludes of Theryl de Clouet? His pieces with the guys (Something's Wrong with this Picture, Running Man, Villified, Love on the Run, and more) reflected Galactic's evolution that you can hear from their first to latest studio releases which go from feeling through the funk to getting so filthy you'd have to jump in a large pool to clean yourself off (but why would you want to?). Both the music and the Houseman's vocals have a much harder, driving feel to them than a lot of shows past with guitarist Jeff Raines sharing the lessons he's been learning down in the Delta School of Hot Blues (sorry). Working with Stanton, Richard Vogel on keys (who dropped in many Buck Rogers light rope type bars) and Ben Ellman on sax & harmonica, they created a spinning rainbow umbrella of some very gut churning jive.

Galactic plays the type of music that would make Paul Bunyan shake the tree tops with laughter and gave me an interesting idea..... Just as Phish used to take live cues from the Big Ball Jam, I'm curious to see what would happen if Galactic were to improv to the ever increasing pace of a high scoring game of Centipede. Maniacal that may be but that's the state in which their cram session left us, cannoning our ears with both set closers. From their latest album, Late for the Future, the first was Black Eyed Pea with it's wrecking ball guitar, leaping keys, girdle girdle bass & motivation courtesy of Mr. Moore. And, on the back half of the evening, came the as yet unreleased Shibuya. The song just stands on it's own so go down a pound of sugar and SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA SHIBUYA!!!!!! (note: the editors of Jambase neither condone nor suggest that you eat a pound of sugar....just read Howie's other reviews and get a sense of the severe mental damage he's done to himself before you consider following any of his suggestions).

Galactic's opening tonight & tomorrow for Ben Harper at NYC's Roseland Ballroom before they all head down to Philly together for the weekend and then they'll be touring on their own for a while so take a gander at the list of gigs and see what you can do to make as many as possible.

Howie Greenberg
Jambase NYC Correspondent
Go See Live Music!!!!

[Published on: 9/27/00]

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