Galactic With Special Guests Dave Shaw & Corey Henry Put On Stellar Performance
The weather may have cooled back down a bit here in New York, but things were heating up this past Saturday with Galactic in the house at Terminal 5. Joined by frequent guests Dave Shaw of The Revivalists and Corey Henry of Rebirth Brass Band, my favorite New Orleans band put on a killer performance with an impeccable set list and top-notch energy. I can honestly say that aside from their infamous Mardi Gras performances, this was one of the best Galactic shows I’ve seen to date.
Happy, upbeat NOLA vibes filled the air even before the band took the stage as I found myself surrounded by Tulane friends, old and new. Everyone fed off each other’s energy and got psyched to be in the company of so many fellow alums. Aside from a shared love of Galactic, many of us in the room have been missing NOLA dearly since graduating from Tulane and the feeling of community in the air was palpable.
Finally Galactic took the stage, starting off strong and only gaining momentum as the night went on. They opened with “Karate” off their most recent album, which was right on point—familiar to most (by sound, not name) and enjoyable to all. Immediately I had the warm fuzzy feeling that I was back in New Orleans with all my friends. This feeling grew even stronger as the band segued into “Hey Na Na,” one of their most well-known songs, and everyone looked around at each other with excitement; particularly because Shaw, who does the lead vocals on this track, was actually there in the flesh to perform it. I have to say, as much as I love Corey Glover (from Living Colour, who usually stands in on lead vocals), it’s a whole different ball game with Shaw. Not necessarily better or worse, but between his characteristic sultry pipes and absurdly high energy, he brings a new flavor to an already fantastic show.
Shaw’s talent was particularly showcased in the various covers he took on and owned throughout the night. First, a passionate rendition of “Ain’t No Love” absolutely brought the house down and had everyone merrily singing along. Later, a funky version of “I Am The Walrus” was an awesome and fun twist, complete with Shaw’s bluesy, soulful voice and made even better with a seamless segue into “Heart of Steel,” my favorite song of theirs. Perhaps the most different and fun one, however, was a take on Ol Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money.” This got EVERYONE hyped and jamming out hard—not that things were ever really mellow to begin with, but Shaw really turned the energy up a few notches with this one, jumping into the crowd and constantly running all over the stage. Sure, it’s not exactly his style to stay put, but he seemed particularly amped this time around. I don’t hate it.
Then, of course, there were the classics. “You Don’t Know,” a Corey Glover staple, was executed flawlessly by his substitute Shaw. (I’ve got lots of love for Corey, but Shaw absolutely nailed it!) “From The Corner To The Block” was another familiar one that Corey Henry took the vocals on. This was incredibly high-energy and just tons of fun, as per usual. As they neared the end, good vibes and high energy were maintained with the classic “Ooh Nah Nay,” complete with an intense sax/trombone duet by Ben Ellman and Henry. This led into a killer bass solo by Rob Mercurio, followed by a drum solo by Stanton Moore. These guys are all so talented, both individually and as a whole, and I feel so proud to have watched them blow up over the last few years. Just when they had tricked us into thinking they were done for the night, out comes Shaw with a cover of Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks” for the encore; a powerful ending to an epic show.
I didn’t think it was possible for Galactic to outdo themselves, but indeed they have. Between their stellar setlist and ridiculously high level of energy, paired with the crowd’s eagerness and good vibes, this past Saturday’s Galactic show at Terminal 5 was certainly one for the books. If you’re not familiar with these guys yet, first slap yourself for having missed out on their greatness, then watch the video below, and be sure to catch them on tour or at any number of festivals this summer including Gathering of the Vibes and Catskill Chill.