Galactic: The Other Side of Midnight: Live in New Orleans

In the tradition of all great jam bands, you can’t really get Galactic unless you hear them live. On the surface, the latest album by this New Orleans eight-piece does seem to get everything right: killer band, enthusiastic crowd, great energy. But if a great live album makes you feel like you’re at the show, Other Side suffers the strange distinction of making you wish you were there. As the tunes groove along one after the other, it’s hard not to feel a sense of detachment with what you’re hearing — but it’s easy to see how with the benefit of a Hurricane or two (plus that New Orleans air) you could easily get into the right state of mind for Galactic. The guest appearances put a little life into the proceedings, with Trombone Shorty’s drop-in and singer/emcee Cyril Neville’s several featured tunes being highlights. But whether it’s the less-than-inspired arrangements or the lack of compelling solos, there’s just not much else here to get excited about. Galactic is not a live act to be missed, even if the same can’t be said for the album itself.

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