Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Galactic Story

This is a little disjointed and not quite chronological. I just feel the need to write more about my history of seeing Galactic.

The first time I saw Galactic was an accoustic show at Green Dolphin Street in Chicago. It was during the 2 years I lived there, so it was sometime between 96 and 98. I hadn't heard of them before, but my friend John was steering me towards lots of great stuff and told me this was a great band out of NOLA.

I was surprised when Houseman came out as I didn't quite think he fit. I wasn't into jazz at all except when it brushed up against my other stuff. At least, my story was I didn't like jazz. I certainly liked that acoustic set at Green Dolphin Street. I also remember the first live music I went to when I moved there was at The Green Mill and I enjoyed that.

I remember there were lots of tables there, but we stood in the back and danced. It was 3 sets for 1 cover. I have a cassette tape of a portion of it, I'm not sure where it is now.

After I moved to NYC, I would occasionally go to Galactic over the first few years, but they weren't doing it for me. I stopped going.

Then, I met Jen R. at a Phil show. They were the amazing Phil shows I didn't know I'd like until I went to one. Yes, the ones with Warren and Jimmy Herring. Jen told me this was new territory for her and that she was into WPS, The Meters, and Galactic. That one conversation did a lot for me. She got me back to BBs, which was great back then. I was turned off the place when I went to War and there were seats on the dance floor. I thought that was wrong. She explained they usually don't have seats for the funk shows, and it can get pretty crowded.

She also planted the Galactic seed again, and after that I would give them a try every now and then. I would still get bored and leave their shows early. But, I kept trying very occasionally when they came to NYC.

Then I went to jazzfest for the first time in 2002. I loved their jazzfest set. I was also starting to hang out with a lot of Galactic fans, so I was being advertised to just by their enthusiasm.

The next year at jazzfest, I saw Stanton in many different guises at the night shows and I was impressed with all of them. I think the first one was at the Shim Sham Club with Johnny Vidocovich. There was almost no one there and I was one of the few up close to the stage. I remember it as I was standing right up front, in the center with my jaw dropped at how impressed I was. That was also my first time seeing Brian Coogin and I was very impressed. I think Mark Mullins was in it. I can't remember who else right now, but I remember they were all the greats I now see whenever I can.

Anyway, that's when I fell in love with Stanton's drumming. I proceeded to get to many of his gigs that fest, although I may have only seen Galactic at the Fairgrounds.

Then I started to see Galactic more. I remember having incredible spiritual moments at a Twiropa show when I was down there one Halloween. I think it was on 11/1. I think I had a few amazing ones before that.

What really made me get completely hooked was when they decided not to have a singer anymore. That whole tour was full of many special guests. I remember them at Irving Plaza with many guests and at one point, Joe Russo, Eric Bolivar, and Stanton were playing the kit together! I was in my glory. There were some good shows that year.

Then I remember seeing them the first Thurs of Jazzfest one year at Tips and Leo opened. It was good. But, after that, they started touring with Leo. I don't think it was all of Galactic and they called it something else. That was good the first time at BBs and after that, my recollection is it started to fizzle. It was also at first that Leo was on his best behavior and just reverted back over time. I think that was another time period where I wasn't crazy about Galactic, but still tried every now and then due to the enthusiasm of my friends.

There was one year where it just happened to work out that whenever I traveled for music, Galactic was involved. They were really doing it for me then. I went to DC to the 930 Club. I went to NOLA and saw them around Halloween. I saw them a few other places I can't remember. I started loving them more than ever before. Having lots of conversations about why I now like them when I didn't.

I was all set to go to the 10th Anniversary show, which didn't happen because of Katrina.

I started getting more and more impressed when I'd see them at Tips. I remember seeing them the only Mardi Gras I ever did, which was the one right after Katrina. I was in my glory at that show. It was REALLY sold out. I remember a new friend I had just met tried to get in by paying the door guy $100 and it wasn't happening. I was so glad I learned a few years ago to buy for Galactic in advance.

Even when they had those rappers, I still thought they were great.

Last night just reminded me of what can happen when they are on. I forgot how awesome it can be. This is one of the few bands that arent' always consistently great that I will still go to see.

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