Galactic @ Brooklyn Bowl 6/2/12 – Review
This past Saturday, I was finally able to catch my first Galactic show outside of their native New Orleans. Having lived in the big easy the past four years, I’ve naturally seen the band at their home base several times. However, their most recent show in Brooklyn, New York was an entirely different experience.
For those of you who have yet to experience Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, this place is something like an arcade/bowling alley that had a baby with an underground rave. Complete with a laid-back lounge area, highly acclaimed restaurant and bar, the venue is ideal for anything from hosting a birthday party to getting down after-hours. It has an inherently intimate vibe, from the ease at which I schmoozed with those around me, to the way Corey Glover (of the band Living Colour) casually strolled through the front door with his wife and children. The crowd was wildly diverse, ranging from recent post-grads to 70-year-old burnt out hippies, and EVERYTHING in between.
Two hours later than the scheduled time, the opening act, The High and Mighty Brass Band, took the stage. Self-described as “a party in progress,” the 7-piece Brooklyn-based band with deep ties to NOLA was a party indeed. The energy produced by these relatively new kids on the block seemed to radiate straight from New Orleans. They immediately got the crowd going with jazz/funk beats that were both smooth and upbeat. Like Galactic, HMBB creates their own sound complete with elements of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Afro-Beat. These guys (and girl) are blowing up quick in the NYC/Brooklyn area and show no signs of slowing down.
Finally, enter Galactic. Known for their live performances, these guys could do very little to disappoint. Though they started off surprisingly slow and mellow, the crowd was vibin’ from the beginning. The pace quickly picked up as guest acts Corey Glover on the vocals and Corey Henry (of Grammy award-winning Rebirth Brass Band) on the trombone joined in. As always, Glover gave a moving performance, singing with incredible passion. Henry easily stole the show with several lengthy solos. At one point, the two broke into a high-energy rap verse together, and you could just tell how much fun they were having with it. About halfway through, the High and Mighty Brass Band hopped back on stage to perform an epic joint performance with Galactic that was incredibly high-energy and a great time overall.
My only complaint would have to be that they didn’t play very many songs that I was familiar with. Instead, they tended to jam out a lot and embark on lengthy instrumental segments. This allowed for an awesome experience as well, but I would have liked to hear many songs that they failed to perform. However, this made it so that when they did drop a familiar tune, the crowd went wild. “You Don’t Know” and “Heart of Steel” were definitely some highlights; Corey Glover’s melodious voice never fails to get the crowd going. I was pleasantly surprised to see what a large following Galactic has outside of New Orleans, and how hyped everyone got whenever one of these more commonly known songs came on, many singing along to every word. When David Shaw of another New Orleans band, The Revivalists, came on stage for a surprise performance towards the end, everyone went wild. He joined in for the vocals on “Hey Na Na” and it was possibly the most energetic song of the show.
Each Galactic performance is its own experience entirely. Catch them for yourself on tour this summer at a local venue in your town or headlining one of several festivals, including moe.down and Equifunk.