WEB EXTRA: Out of this world: Galactic plays New Orleans funk at 9:30 Club

New Orleans-based funk outfit Galactic is bringing its unique brand of party music to D.C. in what is being dubbed “a NOLA style blowout.” Two shows at the 9:30 Club will round out the band’s “10 Year Invasion” tour, and will be littered with special guests, pumping improv and classic covers.

Galactic is world-renowned for its pulsating rhythms, labeled by The New York Times as making “some of the most danceable music in the world.” Its distinct web of jazz and blues carries hints of hard rock roots, but the whole sound is smothered with a thick layer of funk that does not quit until the house lights go up.

Though Galactic has been around for 10 years, its members are still growing and developing as a band. Just last year, longtime vocalist Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet left the band to pursue other opportunities, leaving Galactic with the opportunity to go back to their roots as an instrumental group.

“The live sets are just a little different now, there’s a different energy without (Houseman),” guitarist Jeff Raines said in an interview with The Hatchet. “Obviously we’re more focused on instrumental music now . but we started off as an instrumental band, so I guess it’s kind of a natural progression for us to go back to that.”

While Galactic’s infectious energy on stage has not been diminished by the departure of its beloved MC, they felt that the presence of Ivan Neville might help to spice up the final dates of this tour. Ivan is a member of the famous New Orleans music family the Nevilles, and is comfortable with a myriad of instruments. Galactic has also enlisted the help of the Stooges Brass Band to add another dimension to the weekend festivities, which have been dubbed “9:30 In New Orleans.” The Stooges will be opening for Galactic on Friday, Nov. 18 and sitting in with the band both nights.

These two nights of music promise to be a wild ride through the depths of the New Orleans sound, exploring the origins and stretching the limits of the Mardi Gras groove.

Commenting on the impending party planned for the tour’s conclusion, Raines said, “It should be fun, you know . especially after everything that’s happened in New Orleans, it’s always good to see our friends from back home.”

Although the band was safe in Seattle when Hurricane Katrina came ashore, its members were not left unaffected. Raines, who went to high school in the D.C. area (as did bassist Mercurio), has temporarily relocated his family here until New Orleans is rebuilt. In terms of music, Raines said the hurricane has scattered musicians from the afflicted city all over the country, creating a much different scene at the moment.

“Doing gigs at home is a lot different now,” he said, “There’s a lot less people in the town than usual.”

The empty streets and weather-beaten buildings are but a shadow of the once vibrant New Orleans. Thankfully, even after all the chaos and destruction, the lively spirit of the city and its music has survived unscathed, as shown by the incredible outpouring of love and support by the musicians who call it home, most notably through benefit concerts supporting the relief effort.

It will take a long time to rebuild the city of New Orleans, but the unique essence of the world’s funkiest city is being celebrated at each stop that this five-piece funk outfit makes. They manage to keep the party rocking in cities all around the country even though they have been temporarily evicted from theirs. This week, a D.C. audience will be treated to the best of what the New Orleans music scene has to offer, and like any good party, anything is bound to happen. BYOB (Bring Your Own Beads).

Galactic will play the 9:30 Club on Friday, Nov. 19th with Ivan Neville and the Stooges Brass Band, and again on Saturday, Nov. 20th with Ivan Neville, the Stooges Brass Band and the Robert Walters Trio featuring Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio. Tickets for both shows are $25 and can be purchased at www.930.com or the 9:30 Club box office.

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