As the Saints-sponsored Wednesday at the Square series draws near its end, super-group Galactic took the stage. A large crowd of 20-somethings joined the collared-after-work set and the tie-dyed-0ver-40’s to pogo and groove to the high energy music. In addition to the expertise of Ben Ellman on sax, Stanton Moore on drums and Corey Henry on trombone, Living Colour‘s lead singer, Corey Glover joined the jazz, funk, rock, hip hop band.
Glover’s voice ranges from gut-deep lows to Steven Tyler-surpassing highs. When Corey Henry put down his trombone for a song and rapped, we had Corey’s on either end of the stage driving the crowd into a head-bopping frenzy. Later, Ben Ellman and Corey Henry played their horns like they were martial artists sparring. Unlike a duel where players take turns trying to mimic and top each other, the song was the star and the men traded off opportunities to express it. You definitely had to be there to get the full effect.
The entire band, including, Richard Vogel on keys, Jeff Raines on guitar and bassist Robert Mercurio, have a loose improvisational style that disguises the obvious discipline it takes to play in a band this talented. I’d get lost in the interplay of horns then hear an amazing drum sequence pushing its way through the jazzy chaos and suddenly remember – Stanton Moore is the drummer! A star in his own right, Moore plays with several bands, designs drums, writes a magazine column about drumming and instructs drumming through Tipitina’s Foundation as well as teaching the New Orleans style internationally.
Watching Corey Glover sing with Galactic is like watching a romantic comedy where you want to scream, “Just get together already!” They are a fairly perfect fit as evidenced by their rendition of Living Colour’s hip-motivating 1990 release, Love Rears its Ugly Head and brought home by their version of Galactic’s hit, Heart of Steel (though I still favor Irma Thomas’ vocals on that tune).
The entire concert was so high energy and, though we in New Orleans are spoiled by amazing free music all the time, everyone seemed to appreciate how lucky we were to watch so many musicians at the top of their game playing together. The encore song was like a freight train in a tunnel – rumbling and relentless. Amazing.
Next week is the final week of the Wednesday at the Square series and features Gravy at 5 pm then Cyril Neville and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux. The concert is free and all proceeds from the great food and beverage benefit the Young Leadership Council.