Serious Funk and Sweet Soul Music Ruled the Night
By now my regular readers should know how much I love music from New Orleans, so the fact that I went to see Galactic at the House of Blues should not be a surprise.
Galactic has been around for twenty years. The core group is five musicians with a revolving cast of guests. On this tour, they have Maggie Koerner singing and Corey Henry playing trombone.I had only seen them once before and was excited to see them again, especially because Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires was opening the show.
The show opened without Maggie on stage, and played a couple of numbers before she joined them.
They play every song in a no-holds-barred style to ensure that the show is a New Orleans party. They are serious musicians who play with no banter, other than the occasional introduction.
After the first couple of songs, Maggie came to the stage. It didn’t take long before she had the sold-out crowd hanging on her every note.
She has a fabulous, soulful voice and a way of moving around the stage that adds to the music rather than detracts from it (there are a number of musicians, both male and female, who perform in such a sexually provocative manner that I can’t see past it to their musical talent).
Her voice is tremendous, but some people near us wondered if a strong, male voice would be better suited to Galactic’s music. This is not intended to be negative nor is it meant to detract from either Galactic’s or Maggie’s talent; I need to see Galactic again with a man singing to see which I prefer. Clearly the crowd adored her and that’s really all that matters.
Glen Andrews of the Rebirth Brass Band was in town so he played a song or two with them (we saw him with Trombone Shorty three weeks ago – is he relocating to Massachusetts???). His trumpet is always a pleasure to hear.
Their encore was a fabulous version of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”. If there was an unmoving body in the crowd, I didn’t see it.
When I first read that Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires would be opening the show, I thought it might be a mismatch. I saw Charles – The Screaming Eagle of Soul – at the Newport Folk Festival in 2012 and fell in love with him and his story.
His is a true “from rags to riches” story and he is grateful for every person who comes to hear him.
It was hard to tell how many of the people who did show up for his set were familiar with him. I guarantee that those people who arrived in the middle wished they had been there from the start.
He will remind you of James Brown; he spent some years fronting a cover band. He will remind you of Al Green and of Otis Redding. But his story of being discovered when he was around 60 is what will endear him to you.
The Extraordinaires are an excellent supporting band for Charles. I especially loved the flamingo in front of the drum kit…
At the end of his set – at least on the two occasions I have seen him perform – he hops off the stage and walks along the rail hugging everyone who wants one. He gives the best hugs – they are heartfelt and genuine, and you know he is grateful for YOUR presence at the show.
This was a fabulous way to spend Friday night. Each band is worth seeing, separately or on one bill. If you don’t walk out of one of their shows smiling, I’ll reimburse you for your ticket (just kidding)!
Posted on February 9, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Ben Ellman, boston, Charles Bradley, concert review, Corey Henry, funk music, Galactic, Glen Andrews, House of Blues, Maggie Koerner, music, New Orleans music, soul music, Stanton Moore. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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