Review – Galactic Kept the Funk at Red Rocks

Photo by Meg O’Neill
Photo by Meg O’Neill

Who says Thursdays aren’t for funk? Certainly not any of the eager fans at the epic Galactic show last night. A show that opens with the soulful Pimps of Joytime followed by electronic jammers Boombox has a certain vibe to it, and Thursday’s show did not have a person in the house who could keep from grooving.

Pimps of Joytime started out the night, hitting the stage promptly at 7:30 p.m. The funky, soul-fueled group lost their Red Rocks virginity, and did it in style. Hailing from Brooklyn, these cats have had plenty of exposure to music in all of its forms and it shows when they jam. As noted in 303 Magazine’s interview with the eclectic Kim Dawson earlier this summer, this group has plenty up their sleeve for shows and festivals to come.

Photo by Meg O'Neill
Photo by Meg O’Neill

Boombox took to the limelight promptly at 8:30 p.m. to greet the night just before the sun bid farewell. The flashing lights of the fans’ glow sticks flickered throughout the crowd as the duo took their places on matching light-up stages positioned right next to each other. Their get ups included the typical top hat for producer Russ Randolph and an entire sweat-suit attire for Zion, as he belted out the soft lyrics over his incredible strumming. Zion’s stage glimmered a rosy pink light and Russ’ hearty beats inspired a purple, which perfectly clashed with his red-rimmed glasses.

Photo by Meg O’Neill

Live painters splashed large canvases throughout the venue, one painting taking the form of an elaborate cartoon fish, covered in rainbow colors. As the jams spilled over the dancing crowd, a camera man found a patron adorned in a shirt that read “Rumor Has it I was Last Night’s Entertainment,” which gathered a hefty wave of laughter from those paying attention to the LED screen.

Photo by Meg O’Neill

In the middle of a decently mellow set, the twosome onstage turned the focus of the night into a more psychedelic dance party. Dancing lights and costumes weaved through the crowd at a faster pace. The camera zoomed in and out, quickly and randomly, as if to gift the intoxicated crowd with further reason to dance. The set rounded out beautifully, giving the crowd a groove break before Galactic.

Photo by Meg O’Neill

Having formed in New Orleans in 1994, Galactic has made a giant footstep in the jam band scene for their colorful live performances and versatile music. Originally a seven-piece band, the group now contains original members: Jeff Raines on guitar, Stanton Moore on drums, Rich Vogel on the keyboard, Robert Mercurio on the bass and saxophonist Ben Ellman. Theryl DeClouet, which many refer to as ‘House Man’ or as the former lead vocalist of Galactic, did join the group for a few songs but retreated early in the night.

The main vocals of the evening were from Erica Falls, a hearty voice that can be heard on a few Galactic singles, such as “Dolla Diva” and “Higher & Higher” (both of which were performed at last night’s show.) Falls swept the crowd away with her impeccable voice, sassy wit and impressive hairstyle. “Y’all betta make some noise,” she belted out over the swaying crowd. The several minute long jams consisted of such an array of sounds your body would move to whether you are conscious of it or not.


Curtis Mayfield’s “Hard Times” shot out through the Red Rocks speakers in a powerful cover, enticing all members of the stage. “Heart of Steel” played out as well, the track of the night that attracted the most sing-a-long. As Shamarr Allen, a New Orleans trumpeter, rocked shots of brass, the House Man jived his way through a couple of songs, summarizing the performance to the crowd as, “It’s not a concert, it’s a party!” Which was greeted with hysteric shouts and screams of agreement.

Photo by Meg O’Neill

With all of the energy shooting back and forth between the two protruding rocks on either side of the stage, it was hard to imagine a time when it would end. Unfortunately, this show eventually did. The three amazing acts had laid it all out for each and every one of us, and the sweaty faces flocking to the parking lot were more than enough proof. Surely the trio of bands will appear again, perhaps not together, but definitely with just as much soul.

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