Sunday, February 24, 2013

Galactic/Latyrx at the Crystal

Latyrx rocks the Crystal
At my age, shows that don't start until 9:30pm are a challenge. Nonetheless, Jeanine Potts and I rallied last night to attend a late-night show at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. Featured was Galactic, a funk/jam band out of New Orleans with a new album called Carnivale Electros. San Fransisco's high-energy hiphop band, Latyrx (pronounced la-TEE-rex) opened.

Latyrx generated a ton of energy with their rapid-fire, hard-hitting lyrics. It's more performance art than music. The ensemble consisted of frontmen Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker, backed up by a drummer and a deejay. (I've never been clear on what a deejay does... Is it just a matter of playing samples?)

Their tunes are chock-full of hard-hitting rap lyrics. The word count of each song would probably match that of many short novels and the ideas expressed therein come at you so fast that it's nearly impossible to follow them real-time. (Remember that old cliché about drinking from a fire hose?) The message was generally positive and the set did not let up.

Galactic takes the stage
Galactic took the stage sometime around 11pm.

The core band consists of 5 members: Jeff Raines (guitars), Robert Mercurio (bass), Richard Vogel (keyboard), Ben Ellman (saxes, harmonica), and Stanton Moore (drums). They were joined by a trombonist and vocalist (whose names I did not catch).

As one expects from a "jam band," the set consisted of long extended jams and solos that highlighted the astounding musicianship of the band members. Everyone excelled, but in particular Mercurio's mid-show bass solo was one of the best I've seen. And Stanton Moore played the entire set without a break. (He seemed to revel in it.)
Latyrx's Lyrics Born joins Galactic onstage
The band played a mix of original material and covers (I particularly enjoyed their rock solid cover of "I am the Walrus.")

We left before the encore at about 1am. Great show. The Crystal Ballroom, with its suspended dance floor, is a unique venue, and the Galactic audience is positive and mellow.

Latyrx made me a fan. I'll definitely be adding them to my Pandora play list. Galactic, of course, was already on it.

If you get a chance, go see either/both of these bands.

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