Posted March 18, 2014 by Allison Keeney in Show Reviews

Galactic // 3-14-14 // Crystal Ballroom


Hailing from Jamaica, Brushy One String took the stage at the Crystal Ballroom Friday night to open the evening for Galactic. He began his set with the bluesy “Grey in my Blue,” immediately capturing the audience with his raw voice and soulful style.

As his name suggests, Brushy One String’s prized possession is an old acoustic guitar with ONE string, which he beats on to add a layer of percussion to his songs. Brushy’s debut album, Destiny, came out last April and is filled with heartfelt, uplifting songs  with an unmistakably Jamaican pulse.

He ended with a Bob Marley mash up including “Get Up, Stand Up” and “No Woman No Cry.” There was an irresistible sweetness about him that left the smiling crowd marveling: “How did all those sounds come from a one string guitar?!” Brushy has truly honed a unique ability to craft songs and express them in a way that will transfix any audience who sees him. I promise you that.

By the time Galactic walked on stage around 10:15 pm, the crowd was high with anticipation and were ready to get funked up. The long time New Orleans band who got their start playing Mardi Gras shows, started right into their horn-infused, funk jams that their fans love to groove and boogie on down to.

They played two instrumentals before the exuberant singer Maggie Koerner joined them and belted out the catchy, call-back song “Hey Na Na” from  the band’s 2012 album, Carnivale Electricos.

Koerner, who began touring with them this year, brought the ballroom’s energy to a whole ‘nother level with her “slap-in-the-face” soulful voice. The second song she sang was “Dolla Diva,” a new song released by the band in January.  Following that was a fan favorite, “You Don’t Know,” and then a gritty, gut-wrenching performance of the James Brown classic, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”

Brushy One String joined the band mid-way through the set to sing “Bongo Joe,” lending rich authenticity and fun with his thick accent. After a few more instrumental songs including “Cineramascope” featuring a great back and forth of horns, Koerner returned to sing “Higher and Higher,” and my personal favorite, “Heart of Steel.” The band was at their most “jammy” during “Ooh Nah Nay” when all members left the stage except bassist Robert Mercurio and drummer Stanton Moore, who rhythmically journeyed for at least ten minutes before the band returned.

After playing for more than two hours the band said their goodbyes and left the stage. They were ritually stomped and clapped back out by the crowd minutes later. The encore is what really sealed the deal for the night as Koerner sang the uplifting song “Doesn’t Make a Difference at All,” followed by a roaring rendition of the Stones’ immortal “Gimme Shelter.”

It’s safe to say that everyone who was smart enough to be at the Galactic show had a memorable,  funktastic time.

Allison Keeney



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