Never, ever doubt the power of funk. Bands like Galactic have proven the genre’s impact is totally out of this world.
Think about it. What other kind of music has the ability to get audiences movin’ and groovin’ as much as funk? Not only that, Galactic combines elements of jazz and R&B into its eclectic brand of New Orleans music, lifting its sound to astronomical levels of awesomeness.
If you ask us, we think Galactic has a chance to be the dark horse of Sioux City’s Saturday in the Park. Believe it or not, our annual outdoor music festival isn’t about cramming the Grandview Park Bandshell with as many big name acts as possible. Ever since it was created in 1991, Saturday in the Park’s mission was to introduce Northwestern Iowa audiences to amazing live performers. And Galactic just happens to thrive in that live environment.
Formed in 1994, the band has the honed talent (and the experience of playing in and enveloping itself in the New Orleans music culture) to get crowds dancing at this year’s festival. According to the band’s website, Galactic was initially formed by Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines and Rich Vogel.
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Since its creation, the band “has consistently pushed artistic boundaries on the road and in the studio, approaching their music with open ears and drawing inspiration as much from the sounds bubbling up from their city’s streets as they do from each other.”
In an interview with WatchMojo.com in 2010, bassist Robert Mercurio sited a fellow New Orleans funk band as an early source of inspiration and influence. “The one band that we all collectively really dug was The Meters, from New Orleans,” he said. “[…] We learned a lot of their music when we started. It was kind of our beginning point.”
Granted, Mercurio and pianist Richard Vogel stressed Galactic’s brand of music “doesn’t sound anything like (The Meters).” Vogel continued with his description of the band, stating that it is rooted in funky, New Orleans music -- whether it be the brass bands or the funk bands reminiscent of The Meters and The Neville Brothers.
“We have maybe a certain aggressive edge to it,” Vogel said during the interview with WatchMojo’s Rebecca Brayton. “We’re not playing traditional or old school R&B or old school funk. But we love all that music and learn so much from it that it’s all in there.”
So it’s no surprise that the band nabs guests artists like the legendary vocalist Mavis Staples to perform on Galactic’s latest album, “Into the Deep,” released in 2015. R&B singer Macy Gray also contribute her distinct vocals to this Galactic project. While it’s unlikely that either of these singers make an appearance with the band during this year’s Saturday in the Park, it’s not going to stop Galactic from delivering and electric performance.
Watch out. This Unidentified Funky Object is almost ready to land.