It Was Like a Saturday Night in New Orleans with Galactic at Webster Hall
March 14, 2022
Galactic – Webster Hall – March 12, 2022
Watching Galactic electrify a packed Webster Hall on Saturday night, I was reminded that I first saw the New Orleans band play New York City almost 25 years ago and that they’d been electrifying rooms for even longer than that. Staying together for decades and still getting it done is not an easy task, but all the secrets to Galactic’s success were out in the open at Webster. The first secret is to keep things fresh, which they have done by bringing in different lead vocalists over the course of their career. For the past couple of years, that role has been filled by Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, who was the force-of-nature centerpiece of the set Saturday from the get-go. Playing both the role of singer and hype-woman, Joseph had the audience clapping and stomping on demand from the very beginning, singing along when asked, and, most importantly, dancing.
The second secret is, of course, to be damn good at what you do. Whether they were backing Joseph or going full-on instrumental at several points during the set, the band is as funky as ever. With Stanton Moore’s bass drum literally reverberating up through the floor and Rob Mercurio laying down the groove on the bass, the rhythm was inescapable. The rest of the band provided ecstatic peaks, whether it was Ben Ellman with a scintillating harmonica solo or Jeff Raines providing pops of guitar in songs like “Domino” and the horn-and-organ boogie in “You Don’t Know,” the “It” Factor had the room moving. Which leads to the third, and most important, secret to Galactic’s success: Be fun as hell.
Throwback selections like the Meters-esque “Church,” the evening-highlight jammer “Crazyhorse Mongoose” and “Something’s Wrong with This Picture” juiced the Saturday-night audience. Covers like the Zep-rocking “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” and the closing “Rock Steady” put smiles on everyone’s faces as they boogied with nowhere-I’d-rather-be glee. On weekend nights, Webster Hall historically turns over for late-night DJ dance music, which is probably a good time, but when Galactic left the stage Saturday night, I think they took most of the high-grade fun with them, back into their pockets until the next time, just as they’ve been doing for more than 25 years. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Photos courtesy of Maggie V. Miles | @Maggievmiles