REVIEW / PHOTOS: Galactic @ Tipitina’s Uptown – 9/8/12

There’s nothing like a home field advantage. This old adage rings true especially in New Orleans, where our haunts, domed or otherwise provide us and our local favorites with a certain level of comfort and certainly, support. We live in a city that bestows on us the wonderful gift of being able to see world class musicians in their weekly gigs, residencies where they can settle in on otherwise quiet nights and absolutely blow the roof off the joint. If that old haunt Tipitina’s happened to be domed and held 72,000 people – would without a doubt be the team in black and gold, in all their different forms, protecting their HQ for the better part of two decades.

Most recently, these hometown shows have been reserved for New Orleans’ favorite holidays: Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Halloween, and New Years (in that order). This year, in addition to the October 31st Halloween blowout, we got another Tipitina’s holiday show. The first day of fall in New Orleans (also known as, Saints opening weekend).

| Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s Uptown | New Orleans LA| Photo © Lon Marchand

The house was packed, sold out by showtime, leaving more than a few outside without a ticket. In true Galactic gusto, the kickoff for the evening’s festivities would be a booming drum roll from metronome extraordinaire . As Ben Ellman and de facto member Corey Henry approached their spots, it took no more than a quick blast from the horn section to light the packed house up like it was Sunday in the Superdome. It was “Karate”, a raw New Orleans tune that rests somewhere between a second line and a club-banger, perfect for setting the tone for a wild Saturday night on Napoleon Avenue. It didn’t take long for to make an appearance, and they hammered down a solid cover of Swamp Dogg’s classic “Total Destruction To Your Mind” and their Ya-Ka-May hit, “You Don’t Know”.

Corey Glover | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s Uptown | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

The band welcomed a few guests onstage throughout the evening, the first being John Michael Rouchell of MyNameIsJohnMichael for a lively “Out In The Street”, a song John Michael helped pen for this years’ Carnivale Electricos album. The latter part of the first set was a balanced juxtaposition of old and new, with the deep pocketed “Funky Bird” and the swinging “Doublewide > Go Go” suite busting the pre-2000 repertoire out of the closet for a welcome step back in time. The guests never stopped, with Johnny Sansone on harmonica, Trumpet Black, Derrick Freeman, Nick Etwell from Mumford & Sons (plus a few others I didn’t recognize), and the big surprise guest Mr. ” DeClouet.

Galactic & The Houseman | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s Uptown | New Orleans LA | Photo © Bob Compton

“Touch me and you will be struck by lightning…”

When I first started seeing this band they were a churning funk-machine with enough jazz finesse to pull off Lou Donaldson, all the while grabbing the attention of the Y2K jamband crowd with their unique intensity. For a kid whose Mom bought him We Love ‘Em Tonight at the Tower Records in New York City, Houseman was the voice of this band that began taking up more and more room in the CD case. By the time Ruckus came out, I was a Freshman in college and seeing Galactic whenever they stepped foot in Baton Rouge or Bonnaroo, and let alone when I could sneak off to New Orleans for a Tipitina’s, Twi-Ro-Pa or Riverboat show. So when Houseman left, I naively wondered how Galactic would continue without their vocal front (who was appearing less and less leading up to his departure) or how would they play shows without that segment of the catalog? But much like the city that gave life to them, they maintained, and 4 solid releases later they are stronger and and more versatile than they have ever been – and it is a pleasure to see.

I think it is easy for many to forget just how much Houseman WAS Galactic. The string of records that culminated in Ruckus will always stand out to me as the golden age of Galactic’s music, and who knows where this group would be without the introspective, smart, FUNKY lyrics that Houseman delivered on so many of those early cuts. When Theryl hit the stage, I was ecstatically on the balcony rail just to his left, with a clear view of The Houseman in all his glory. Swaying and crooning in a black velvet jacket, he and his reunited band mates absolutely nailed the sharp and meaningful “Something Is Wrong With This Picture” before closing the set with a monstrous, poignant “Bittersweet” (“Rain is falling hard into the river / time is slipping in between the cracks / touch me and you will be struck by lightning / don’t be shy – don’t be holding back…), an absolute highlight from the tail end of Houseman’s tenure with the band. It was a powerful reminder of what the collaboration was capable of for all those years, and hopefully a glimpse of a future of sharing the stage between the old friends.

Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s Uptown | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

The second half maintained the punishing intensity of the first, forcing itself straight back into a pile of driving bass riffs and sax runs with the head bobbing “Cineramascope” and Ellman’s gypsy-tinged “Balkan Wedding”. Glover reappeared as the vocal man for the majority of the set, with “Goin’ Down” and his “Cult of Personality” highlighting. The deep psychedelia of “Tiger Roll”, which I am always pumped to hear (especially after watching LSU lay the wood on Washington a few hours before…) began the inevitable transformation from typical dance-party second set to some serious next-level Galactic, and just as the blistering peak began to peel back the old show bills that line the walls, the bottom dropped out into “Chicken Pox” – a roaring showcase of ’ powerful guitar work and the band’s ability to quickly shift genres and keep the crowd moving.

Stanton Moore | Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s Uptown | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

Stanton got to get his too, sitting down for an extended solo session on the kit before the band came back out for the final few minutes. The music stopped somewhere around 3:00 in the morning, using the final slot as a chance to showcase a special gem for those still standing that deep into the night. The encore could have been just a simple cover choice, but with the Halloween Tipitina’s show looming in the distance, I think “Sympathy For The Devil” was a bit of sly foreshadowing of the madness that will inevitably ensue. I say this about a lot of bands, and often about the ones I love, but if you haven’t seen Galactic in a while – now is the time to do so. Especially when, like our Saints, they have a house to protect.

“Sympathy For The Devil” | Galactic | 2012.08.09 | Tipitina’s | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

Galactic
2012.09.08
Tipitina’s Uptown, New Orleans LA

I: Karate, Total Destruction To Your Mind*, You Don’t Know*, I’m Tired*, Keep Steppin’, Funky Bird, Out In The Street**, Hey Na Na*, Doublewide > Go Go, Something Is Wrong With This Picture***, Bittersweet***

II: Cineramascope, Balkan Wedding, Boom Boom*, Heart of Steel*, Tiger Roll > Chicken Pox, Lonely Town*, Cult of Personality*, Boe Money > Drums > Boe Money, Goin’ Down*

ENCORE: Sympathy For The Devil*

* – w/ Corey Glover
** – w/ John Michael Rouchell
*** – w/ Theryl “The Houseman” DeClouet

Rich Vogel | Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

Corey Glover | Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

Galactic & John Michael Rouchell | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand

Galactic | 2012.09.08 | Tipitina’s | New Orleans LA | Photo © Lon Marchand | Photo © Lon Marchand

September 13, 2012 |  by  |  Editor's Favorites, Photos, Reviews
 
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