New Orleans’ Galactic steamrolled the Ogden Theatre on Saturday, stomping through two-plus hours of swampy, fiery grooves. Galactic conjured a raging, steamy boogie, wrapping its soulful, brassy funk around Living Colour frontman Corey Glover’s pitch-perfect vocals.
From the “Let’s Do It Together” opener to the “Sympathy For The Devil” closer, the Big Easy funksters kept the Ogden racing at redline, with a syncopated jive that shook every booty in the house.
Drummer Stanton Moore – a percussive powerhouse who blends and blurs distinct rhythmic styles and stick work – led the show with his bombastic beats, spurring his band to improvised greatness. Moore is the engine behind Galactic’s chameleonic capacity to mold around the music of the moment, from sultry soul and brassy jazz to frenzied hip-hop and swinging funk.
And the music of the moment Saturday night was all over the map.
Guitarist Jeff Raines stirred scalding sitar riffs alongside saxman Ben Elliman’s bazaar-themed blasts in the cover of the gypsy-jammed Balkan Beat Box classic “Sunday Arak.” Glover worked with keyboardist Rich Vogel on a jazz-infused, hip-hop inflected “I Am The Walrus,” cajoling a house-wide sing along.
Glover climbed to impressive high notes in his soul ballad “Heart Of Steel,” hitting and maintaining shrieking peaks that Axl Rose can only dream of today. Moments later Glover mirrored former Galactic singer Theryl “The Houseman” DeClouet’s throaty rumble in “Bittersweet,” revealing one of the broadest vocal ranges out there.
Corey “Boe Money” Henry – the trombone master from New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band – ignited Galactic’s hip-hop fire with “From The Corner To The Block.” Moore grabbed the reins in “Corner,” hammering a complex start-stop rhythm and culling an inspiring brass-blasting battle between Henry’s moaning trombone and Elliman’s thunderous sax.
Sweating in an ill-advised argyle sweater, Glover threw even more fuel on the Galactic fire with Living Colour’s timeless “Cult of Personality,” proving his timbre hasn’t faded a touch in 25 years. Glover’s voice, if anything, has improved in the last few decades. In “What Is Success,” 48-year-old Glover not only sustained high notes, but handled his own vocal effects with no electronic looping.
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Tina Hagerling is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. Check out more of her concert photography.