31 January 2007


GalacticGalactic played in Asheville on Sunday. My friend C.D. and I hopped into the car amidst a snow storm, and proceeded to the venue. During the trek, we saw several 4×4 trucks sliding around along with a cop car skipping along laterally. Deciding that we probably stood a slim chance of making it back home in a few hours after the show was over, we turned around then and there. We did not see the show.

But, luckily, Galactic played in Nashville, Tennessee the other week. And “Nashville” sounds similar to “Asheville”. Using the power of imagination, I’m going to review that show. Some portions of the what follows has been fictionalized for the sake of color.

We rolled up to City Hall and circled around some to catch Galactic, who was in town. Finally, we found a place to park and wandered up to line at the door to claim our tickets at the will-call window. While waiting our chance to yammer at the pretty girl behind the glass, Tim “Stickylips” McGee wandered up, toting his bongo. As you may known, Sticklips is a familiar sight at many shows. He seems to tour with different bands, playing his bongo (just the one) in the parking lot for spare change and free tickets. So, we each gave Sticklips a fiver after hearing him beat on his bongo some.

C.D. had never heard Galactic before, so I did my best to describe them.

Galactic is like the band Morphine, but only after they’d each had 3 cans of Red Bull and a hug from their moms.

The CDDB classifies them sometimes as “Cajun Jazz”. They’re from New Orleans, but it isn’t zydeco at all.

While they do include some vocals, they are musically closer to Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Benevento/Russo Duo, or any number of drum/bass/organ-centric groups. But Galactic has a saxophone. And a harmonica. Bless the reed instruments!

At times they sound like the trippier bits of Neil Young and Crazyhorse or even The Doors, while others there’s distinct flavors of James Brown or the Blues Brothers. And sometimes even a tad bit like the Red Hot Chili Peppers before they sucked.

Anyhow, the show opened with a powerful rendition of FEMA, an upbeat tune with ripping harmonica riffs. They dashed through a few more tunes that I lost track of as the hippie chick in front of me spilled her beer all over my toes.

About midway through the first set, they had an awesome jam on Bongo the Dog (listen, mp3).

They finished their first set with a cover of Led Zepplin’s Immigrant Song. It seems that at other shows, they’ve been playing other Zepplin covers, such as Kashmir.

Of course, during the set break, the lines to the restroom were horribly long, and the beers being served were warm and full of foam. But we loved it. That’s just part of the live music experience, eh?

Another long set flew by, finally ending on a great performance of Little Miss Lover.

So, no, I wasn’t actually at this show, but I have heard it. Thanks to taper-friendly bands and, it’s possible to hear shows you couldn’t attend. BitTorrent has revolutionized legal tape-trading.

You can grab the whole show from here on It’s in FLAC format, so use the power of Google to figure out what to do with those on your particular platform. I’ve transcoded Bongo the Dog from this show to mp3 for your convenience.