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One Last Jam (with vocals)

The legendary New Orleans jam band, Galactic, has been trotting around the world for the past year touting their latest tracks and newer, cleaner sound fresh from the group's most recent album, Ruckus. As announced at the beginning of August, this will be the band's final tour with lead singer, Theryl DeClouet, and, with the last shows of the tour scheduled for San Francisco, the two nights they will be playing at the Fillmore will be the last chance for anyone to see the full Galactic original line up at their tightest, most polished, and most publicized ever.

During this tour, Galactic's sound has remained true to form, showcasing the band's latest forays into hip hop, electronic music and other genres. While the songs they play are shorter in duration than the 20-40 minute long sonic explorations of the band's earlier days, Galactic is nowhere near close to loosing their thundering, latch-on- to-your-heart stage presence as some might have feared as the band's musical directions have evolved over the past couple years. Galactic's music has always been about a multitude of soft layered, electric grooves and jams that coalesce to form that high energy sound fans flock to for every show, and the band hasn't lost that formula. Any audience is guaranteed long, building waves of sound that will make its behavior at a Galactic show a little more socially extroverted, and a lot more fun.

The tour started last fall and traveled all around the east coast, and featured all of the original members: singer Theryl deClouet, guitarist Jeff Raines, bassist Robert Mercurio, keyboardist Richard Vogel, sax player Ben Ellman, and drummer Stanton Moore. Following a small break, the band produced some electrifying recordings at Bonnaroo earlier this summer, garnering the energy to launch their west coast tour, ambitiously playing almost every day throughout a number of cities in California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona since the middle of August. They have had their share of friends along for the ride, including JJ Grey (Mofro), funk band The Motet, and even playing a set for a small Dave Matthews' crowd in Pennsylvania. In San Francisco, however, Galactic won't be trying to warm up to the suburban family crowds, and is bringing along some well respected hip hop influencers: founding Blackalicious member Gift of Gab for the Friday 9/10 show, and Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 for the Saturday 9/11 show.

The final leg of the Galactic tour has still been focused on promoting Ruckus, their album released last fall. Produced by Sanctuary Records in London, Ruckus features Galactic with a more modern and responsible sound, wholly attributed to San Francisco native DJ Dan The Automator Nakamura's deep influences, and highlighting the band members' growing tastes for popular music. While not as immediately cherished as the band's first albums, Ruckus has started to grow popular with fans. The riffs are tight and very clean. Overall it's a much more soothing sound to digest -- with a more calming 'sway from side to side' sensation and not the get-off-your-feet-and-boogy sounds from the band's earlier albums.

While these shorter and more pop sounding tunes define a solid portion of this tour's set lists, Galactic is still performing their share of hard jamming, heavily improvised tunes. Look for the screaming Zeppelin cover to be a big hit at the show.

While the question of Galactic's future success without lead singer Theryl's charismatic charm looms, there is no doubt the band will continue to captivate groove oriented audiences everywhere for many years to come. Nevertheless, if you've always wanted to relive that great Galactic show from years past, the weekend to do it is the 10th and 11th of this September, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. After that weekend, the band will be playing purely instrumental sets for some time to come, and continuing to evolve their sound to be more popular and widely accepted. So, don't miss them this time!