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A Galactic Party at Terminal 5

February 18th, 2014

Galactic – Terminal 5 – February 15, 2014

In what was a small New Orleans music coup this past weekend, Galactic mirrored what fellow NOLA funk and jazz rockers the Soul Rebels were doing at Brooklyn Bowl by having a party of their own at Terminal 5 on Saturday night. Breaking from their recent partnership with Living Colour’s Corey Glover, Galactic were instead joined for about half the set by 25-year-old Louisiana native Maggie Koerner, who quite simply blew away the audience. She initially made her mark during the band’s “You Don’t Know,” but it was later in the show when she sang the cover of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” that the crowd appeared truly floored and let out the biggest applause of the night.

Galactic played so tightly that even during their vocal-less jams they never needed to watch one another to stay in lockstep with the beat, a sign of just how good they are as individual musicians and as a collective. Instead, they often turned straight out toward the crowd, lining up like a firing squad and letting loose a barrage of blue notes, mind-spinning solos and loud-as-hell choruses. For heady-music appreciators, this was the band to see on Saturday night, not just for Galactic’s skills but because they will move a set in any direction they see fit.

While Galactic often feature a vocalist, they are just as happy to steer the set into an instrumental song like “Balkan Wedding,” a track with an epic, moody organ solo that would be a hard sell to a more popular-music-oriented crowd. But they also know how to please a crowd of any size and makeup, so when the encore came around, Koerner rejoined the band for the show’s final original tune, “Heart of Steel” before ending the night with a rafters-shaking rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com