I love anything with Stanton Moore in it, but I especially love listening to Stanton Moore groove live with the New Orleans funk/blues band Galactic. I make a point of always trying to see them when they come to the Belly Up in Solana Beach and I just recently caught them on their recent tour back in May when they were touring with The Soul Rebels Brass Band (who do a mighty fine version of “Sweet Dreams”) and they blew the roof off of that place! Stanton Moore is one of those musician who you can tell that he loves what he does, and what he does is lay down some serious grooves. His playing is always geared towards the audience and he always makes his playing fun even if he is taking a solo (one of which you can check out here: Stanton Moore Drum Solo).
Stanton Moore – Drum Solo
The current lineup of Galactic is Stanton Moore (drums), Jeff Raines (Guitar), Robert Mercurio (Bass), Richard Vogel (Keyboard), and Ben Ellman (Saxophone, Harmonica) with a rotating selection of guests to provide their vocal talents ( for the recent tour I saw they had Corey Glover from Living Colour). The live album The Other Side of Midnight was recorded during their Ya-Ka-May tour and released in 2011. This album has a variety of guest musicians who have been playing with Galactic recently including: Corey Henry, Cyril Neville, Trombone Shorty, and The Soul Rebels Brass Band. This live album is a pretty fair representation of what the band sounds like live these days and by that I mean plenty of horns and plenty of funk!
The songs are a variety of new material and songs off of their Ya-Ka-May album with a few older songs mixed in. A few tracks into the album and Trombone Shorty joins the band and adds his horn to the mix beginning with the instrumental track “Cinearamascope”. Trombone Shorty is a great funky/jazz trombone player (what else?) from New Orleans who blends seamlessly with Galactic’s style. From here they go into a version of “Heart of Steel” that is just amazing. You can catch a live video of them playing this song down below or here: Heart of Steel Live. Stanton Moore lays down a nice solid deep groove while Ben Ellman blows on his harmonica and Cyril wails on this song. More horns are brought to the stage as The Soul Rebels Brass Band joins the stage for the instrumental “Boe Money” as well as for “From the Corner to the Block” with Corey Henry adding his vocals on the latter. That adds six more horns to the stage to the two that were already there! Towards the end of the album they throw in one of their older songs, the very funky Meters sounding “Funky Bird”, off of their first album, Coolin’ Off.
This album captures the live energy that Galactic has at their shows and is a good selection of their newer material. Funk always sounds better live and the show they put on at the Belly Up with The Soul Rebels Brass Band was one of the better shows I’ve seen recently. Galactic will be playing live at the Portland Blues Festival on Saturday at 8:45 and everyone in Portland that wants to listen to some soulful funky blues should go check them out. If you can’t see them live then do the next best thing and listen to a live recording. And if you want even more funky New Orleans music then go check out this Rolling Stones article: “18 songs that have helped define the rapturous music of the 18th state” where Galactic’s “Wild Man” was featured.
Galactic w/Cyril Neville – Heart of Steel