Galactic Brings the New Orleans Heat to Snowy Brooklyn!
Mardi Gras may have officially ended a week ago, but Galactic brings the celebration with them anywhere they go. NYC was hit with a surprise snowstorm shortly before doors were set to open at Brooklyn Steel on February 17, but that wasn’t stopping fans from filling the venue wall-to-wall.
Butcher Brown hit the stage first to get us warmed up. The Richmond, VA jazz-funk quintet offered a high-energy set with soothing, mellow moments that allowed the crowd to stop and take it all in. From the screaming sax to the bluesy guitar, from the funky bass to the rhythmic drums, Butcher Brown draws influence from all corners of music, past and present.
The crowd seemed a bit younger in comparison to most of my live Galactic experiences. I would venture to say this may have had something to do with Brooklyn’s own Rubblebucket on the ticket. The indie-rock, wacky-pop group was full of surprises. From synchronized dance moves to the expansive vocal abilities of singer/saxophonist, Kalmia Traver, this first-time listener was quickly fascinated.
Enter the main event. Sticking to their tried-and-true formula, Galactic kicked things off with a roaring instrumental before bringing the beloved Erica Falls out to join them. With Falls onstage, the band dove head first into a ferocious performance of “Higher and Higher” from 2015’s Into the Deep. As Galactic’s most vocal-heavy album to date, Into the Deep provides Falls with plenty of opportunity to shine. Her sass and confidence are especially evident onstage during tracks like “Right On” and “Dolla Diva.”
Erica Falls may as well be an honorary member of Galactic at this point, having spent the past couple of years on the road with the band. Her soulful vocals and positive, infectious energy fit Galactic’s vibe like a glove. “I like rowdy people!” Falls told the crowd. The room responded with a whole lot of hollering, flailing and hands in the air.
Although many of us have missed seeing former touring member and trombone slayer Cory Henry onstage, the addition of Shamarr Allen helps to ease the pain. Allen is thrilling to watch as he bounces around from one end of the stage to the other, playing his pocket trumpet with ferocity and elation. He’s become a main focal point on the Galactic stage, and he has earned that attention. Allen had a palpable chemistry with long-standing member and saxophone extraordinaire Ben Ellman at Brooklyn Steel that night. The two fed off of each other and egged each other on all evening, creating the scene of a musical partnership and a fun friendship that was a joy to watch.
Galactic alternated between full instrumentals and Ms. Falls’ spirited vocal offerings, playing a set inclusive of recent tunes and older classics. Throwing it back to the year 2000, the band pulled out “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” from their third studio album, Late for the Future. The ever-relevant and poignant lyrics echoed through the vast music venue, reminding us that at Galactic’s core are community and authenticity.
The New Orleans’ road warriors will continue to tour through the fall and recently announced they will be joining Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue come August. Check out all of Galactic’s upcoming dates below and don’t miss the geniuses of funk when they roll through your city. Tickets available here.
FEB 20 Syracuse, NY: The Westcott Theater
FEB 21 Grand Rapids, MI: The Intersection
FEB 22 Minneapolis, MN: Palace Theatre *
FEB 23 Chicago, IL: The Riviera Theatre *
FEB 24 Detroit, MI: Saint Andrew’s Hall *
FEB 25 Cleveland, OH: House of Blues *
FEB 27 Bloomington, IL: The Castle Theatre
FEB 28 Lexington, KY: The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center
MAR 1 Pittsburgh, PA: The Rex Theater
MAR 2 Washington, DC: 9:30 Club
MAR 3 Washington, DC: 9:30 Club
MAR 15 St. Louis, MO: Delmar Hall
MAR 16: Kansas City, MO: Uptown Theater
MAR 17 Denver, CO: The Fillmore Auditorium
MAR 18 Aspen, CO: Belly Up, Aspen
MAR 19 Telluride, CO: Sheridan Opera House
MAR 21 Victor, ID: Knotty Pine Supper Club
MAR 23 Seattle, WA: Showbox Presents
MAR 24 Portland, OR: Crystal Ballroom
MAR 25 Crystal Bay, NV: Crystal Bay Casino
MAR 27 Las Vegas, NV: Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
MAR 28 Tempe, AZ: Marquee Theatre
MAR 29 Solana Beach, CA: Belly Up
MAR 30 Los Angeles, CA: Fonda Theatre
MAR 31 San Francisco, CA: The Warfield
APR 28 New Orleans, LA: Tipitina’s
MAY 4 New Orleans, LA: Joy Theater
MAY 6 New Orleans, LA: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
AUG 2 Bethlehem, PA: Musikfest +
AUG 4 Boston, MA: Blue Hills Ban Pavilion +
AUG 7 Hampton Beach, NH: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom +
AUG 10 Atlantic City, NJ: Borgata Events Center +
AUG 11 Bethel, NY: Bethel Woods Center for the Arts +
AUG 14 Lewiston, NY: Tuesday in the Park Concert Series +
AUG 18 Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Museum of Art +
AUG 24 Huber Heights, OH: Rose Music Center @ The Heights +
AUG 25 Cincinnati, OH: PNC Pavilion at Riverbend +
SEP 8 Portland, OR: Edgefield +
SEP 9 Seattle, WA: Woodland Park Zoo +
SEP 11 Bonner, MT: Kettlehouse Amphitheater +
SEP 19 Phoenix, AZ: Comerica Theatre +
SEP 22 Taos, NM: Kit Carson Park +
+ with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue