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Simply Unpredictable

February 28th, 2011

Galactic/Trombone Shorty – Terminal 5 – February 26, 2011

Trombone Shorty - Terminal 5 - February 26, 2011

A Galactic show is a truly unpredictable event: Every time through it’s a different sound, a different set list, a different menagerie of guests and opening acts. And Saturday night’s Mardi Gras party at Terminal 5 was no different. You know how the janitor always has the master key to get into any room in the building? Well Galactic has the master key to the grooves, a never-ending supply of bass and drums to get even the most leaden of feet moving.

More than any band I’ve seen, Galactic is always willing to step into the backing-band mode for their guests. On Saturday, the roster included Corey Henry on trombone, Cyril Neville and Corey Glover on vocals and members of the openers, Trombone Shorty and High and Mighty Brass Band. The guests allowed the band to morph from one form to another—Meters-esque grooving with Neville fronting, N’awlins big-band bombast with more horns than fingers to count them and then raging classic-rock cover band with Glover singing “Crosstown Traffic” and “How Many More Times” with aplomb. With Stanton Moore and Rob Mercurio laying down the funk and the psychedelic Day-Glo lights swirling around the equipment and stage, the band plowed through a couple of hours of party time that lasted well into the morning. The most expansive “Whoa!” moments were provided on the older material in which Rich Vogel was given free reign and took off with deep, exploratory organ and keyboard solos.

But perhaps the most unpredictable moments came from the undercard. Proving to be more headliners than a warm-up act, and equal parts James Brown, Louis Armstrong and Little Feat (all covered during their set in part or whole), Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue were a revelation. And their lengthy time onstage was a party before the party. The backing band, brimming with talent, was like a king-size bed in a hotel room that Shorty hopped up and down on like a kid on vacation. Brooklyn’s High and Mighty Brass Band played in between sets, second-lining into the middle of the crowd to keep the party going. And what would a party be without the craziest participant of them all? I speak of Jimmy McMillan, representing the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, who brought his soapbox to the stage. And who would have predicted that? —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | notch.org