Tag Archives: Superhuman Happiness


Galactic Kick Off Four-Night Run at Brooklyn Bowl

August 8th, 2013

Galactic – Brooklyn Bowl – August 7, 2013

As far as metaphors go, New Orleans’ Galactic most resemble Silly Putty: totally elastic, plenty of bounce and press ’em hard enough against something and they’ll pick it up and distort it to no end. Opening a four-night run at Brooklyn Bowl last night, their unpredictable malleability was in full effect. After a tough-to-follow opening set from hot up-and-comers Superhuman Happiness, who appear to be raising Afrobeat space-funk indie pop to an art form, the veteran jammers took the stage and wasted no time with a warm-up solo-packed funk jam.

From there the set was delivered in bite-sized pieces. Guests rotated in and then left only to return, beginning with Corey Glover, looking quite like your golf-obsessed uncle and delivering a decidedly soul-blues-rock edge. His highlight was a great cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Night People,” which rode a nice Jeff Raines guitar solo, and the appropriately titled “Ooh Nah Nay,” the crowd singing along while getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of Rob Mercurio, Ben Ellman and Stanton Moore. The proverbial glow stick was cracked when Jon Gutwillig from the Disco Biscuits joined in on guitar, adding a long, swirly phospherescent solo to a dark, funky jam. The Silly Putty went pretzel as Glover and Gutwillig both sat in for, of all things, an adrenaline-rush cover of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”

Of course Galactic spent some quality time on their own, with plenty of boogie-inducing numbers, from the classic Meters-esque groovers to the explosive, harmonica-meets-slide-guitar-meets-TNT-drums “Shibuya.” But the guests couldn’t be held off for too long: Rubblebucket’s Kalmia Traver brought a bucket of energy to the second Zeppelin cover of the night, matching Glover’s performance with a house-igniting take on “Whole Lotta Love.” Traver moved to baritone saxophone and bandmate Alex Toth joined in on trumpet for a big-horn-section take on “Baker’s Dozen” before Glover returned to close it all out with a Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality.” And that was just the first night! Don’t worry. I’m sure there’s plenty of bounce left in ’em for three more—and then some. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

(Galactic play Brooklyn Bowl tonight, tomorrow and Saturday.)


Mercury Lounge and Dog Gone Blog Have Your Late-Night Needs

December 27th, 2012

As 2012 winds down, there’s still a whole lot of nightlife left, which means you very well might want to fit in more than one concert a night. So whether you’re hitting My Morning Jacket, Phish or something else, Mercury Lounge and Dog Gone Blog have your back. Saturday night, they welcome Prince Rupert’s Drops and Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker’s solo offshoot, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks (above, doing “Never Goin’ Back” for the Fader Fort). The Village Voice says of their psychedelic-tinged folk: “The melodies now have a campfire quality that adds a new layer to the nostalgic pop we’ve come to expect.” And Sunday, Antibalas tenor saxophonist Stuart D. Bogie brings Superhuman Happiness to Mercury Lounge. The seven-piece band (below, doing “Needles & Pins” for the Bridge Sessions), known for high energy shows, will certainly have you spending your last Saturday night/early Sunday morning of 2012 dancing along to their joyful noise.


Can You Describe the Ruckus?

January 30th, 2012

Rubblebucket – The Bowery Ballroom – January 28, 2012

In between the opener and the headliner of Saturday night’s sold-out Bowery Ballroom show a woman asked us for the name of the first band. When I said, “Superhuman Happiness,” she responded, “They were really good!” I nodded in agreement: Indeed, they had just turned the room into a dance hall, blending Afrobeat with modern touches ranging from the Talking Heads to LCD Soundsystem. It was jamming horn-heavy groove music with claws, gratifying fans in the crowd and winning over plenty more.

Then the woman asked if we had ever seen Rubblebucket, the headliner. We replied that we hadn’t and she got a look in her eye. I know that look. I’ve given it to people plenty of times. It says, “You’re in for a treat and you don’t even know it.” Not many acts can put that kind of spark in someone’s eye. But later in the night—somewhere in between the crowd-surfing guest sousaphonist and the robot puppets (or puppet robots?) dancing through the arms-in-the-air crowd while the band stretched out a jam that had begun with a whiplash version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”—there was no question where that look had come from because I had the same one.

Rubblebucket picked up right where Superhuman Happiness had left off, taking the organic stuff of the tribal and the electronic and burying it underground until it liquefied into pure party petrol. The music was utterly post-genre—horns, synth, guitars, harmonies—a smile-inducing point on the tangent that connects Björk and Broken Social Scene. If those in the audience were enjoying themselves to the legal limit, the band members were right there with them, amid the crowd-surfing and the confetti cannons and returning for the encore ensconced in LEDs that seemed to blink in time with the drums. By the end of the show, which included material off last year’s Omega La La and even stronger first-time-played material, not a booty was left unshaken and not an eye was left untwinkling. —A. Stein