Galactic, Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN – 4/20
Photo by Ellis Jones
Expectations were running high outside Minglewood Hall at the notion of spending 4/20 with Galactic. On this tour, in addition to supporting their most ambitious release, Carnivale Electricos they are joined with special guests, Corey Glover of Living Colour and the dazzling trombone player Corey Henry of Rebirth Brass Band. But before these acclaimed musicians could put their stamp on the night, opening act Corey Harris and Lightnin’Malcolm already had set the hall ablaze. A simple drum kit and a guitar in the hands of Malcolm is all that is needed to start the party. They both shined before ending their short but mean blues set with the title track off his new release “Renegade.” They definitely achieved the goal of warming up the ever-growing crowd.
Stanton Moore and company began around ten and took immediate charge of the room, erupting into the musical journey “Cineramasope.” It was evident early on that Corey Henry’s trombone playing was a natural fit. After Stanton was done orchestrating the opening number from behind his drums, Corey Glover made his first appearance singing “Hey Na Na” off their new release Carnivale Electricos. He sounded invigorated as he enthusiastically led the hyped masses to sing along on this funky number. “Out in the Street” followed and also benefited from Corey’s diverse voice. A tasteful vocal jam added to the jazz-inspired feel that accompanied the tune.
Galactic really showed their diversity all evening bouncing from funk fueled jazz, hip hop, to hard rock and all notes in between. This was no more evident than when they played a smoking version of Living Colour’s classic “Cult of Personality.” Stanton Moore’s insane drumming and Corey’s vocals together made it sound like a different band altogether. Guitarist Jeff Raines grinned while playing the iconic licks as the hall resembled a mosh pit for a moment. Then with seemingly no effort they transformed the vibe back to Mardi Gras with their funk-fueled numbers and dazzling horns. Another highlight tonight—no different than most Galactic shows— took place during Stanton Moore’s drum solo. This virtuoso never ceases to amaze as he is clearly one of the best and easily worth the price of admission. They ended the set with Led Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times” and worked the audience into a frenzy playing the timeless classic to perfection. The crowd got what they demanded with a double encore consisting of “Ash Wednesday Sunrise” and “Goin Down.” The show ended as it began with vigor, energy and smiling faces dancing.
While the night was impressive, at times it suffered from the lack of cohesiveness. It was an interesting dynamic when Corey Glover joined the band. His overpowering presence at times made it feel like Galactic backing him up. Still one could easily argue it was the best of both worlds. While a lot of the bands in the scene all have similar sounds, one can always count on Galactic for a truly unique musical experience.