CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - Fresh of the heels of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, one of the city's funkiest bands, Galactic, will return to the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room with a pair of special guests Sunday night.
Spanning a career that dates back to 1994 and includes 10 albums, five-member Galactic has grown from being Crescent City upstarts - bringing a decidedly modern edge to its mix of funk, rock and soul - to being veterans who are now established as one of the leading groups from New Orleans.
Galactic includes drummer Stanton Moore, guitarist Jeff Raines, keyboardist Rich Vogel, bassist Robert Mercurio and sax player, Ben Ellman.
According to a biography on the band's website - www.galacticfunk.com - Galactic is part of a diverse community of musicians, and in their own studio, with Mercurio and Ellman producing, they have the luxury of experimenting. On their albums, they do something that's unusual in rock, but not so controversial an idea in, say, hiphop: They create something that's a little like a revue, a virtual show featuring different vocalists (mostly from New Orleans) and instrumental soloists each taking their turn on stage in the Galactic sound universe.
In recent months, Corey Glover (lead singer of the band Living Colour) has served as lead vocalist. Glover and trombone player Corey Henry (of Rebirth) will join Galactic Sunday night on the North Shore.
According to the band's biography, Galactic often creates new material in collaboration with its many guests, though they occasionally rework a classic. Despite the electronics and studio technology, Galactic's albums are very much band records.
"The way we write music, we come up with a demo, or a basic track, and then we collectively decide how we're gonna finish it," Mercurio said, according to the band's website. The result is a hard-grooving sequence of tight beats across a range of styles that glides from one surprise to the next.
While Mercurio isn't about to put Galactic on a level with such New Orleans legends as the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Irma Thomas or Allen Toussaint, but he feels the group's stature in the musically rich city has grown as its career has continued into its second decade.
"We've outlasted a lot of bands, which is just, that's the way it is," he said in an interview with Lake Tahoe Action prior to the band's March 25, 2012, show at the Crystal Bay Club. "A lot of bands come and go. Us being a band for 15-plus years has kept us afloat, has kept us in the minds of people, I think. And I do feel a little shift in the last few years of attention and you know, when people think of New Orleans, they might think of Galactic more than they did 10 years ago, (and we) might be included in that list of bands that they talk about from New Orleans."