music / Columns

Jam Central Station: Galactic & Lettuce – 2/25/18 – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH

March 13, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



Lettuce and Galactic are two of the most exciting and most dynamic modern funk bands making the rounds today. Both bands have a storied history dating back decades, and both have become icons in their respective scenes. Galactic are practically synonymous with New Orleans nowadays. Their version of the classic New Orleans funk and jazz sound has brought the band to unparalleled success. They’ve turned themselves into a part of the bedrock of modern New Orleans music. Lettuce, on the other hand, hails from Northeast, and their sound is a testament to the tremendous talent of each individual member. The band has been primarily known throughout the years for their hard-hitting Brooklyn funk, but they’ve mixed up their sound tremendously. Their most recent release, Witches Stew is a clear reference to Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, and is a true modern jazz marvel. Getting these two bands together for a tour was a great idea, and both bands were motivated to bring out their best.

The two bands are in different spots at the moment on their touring cycle. Lettuce recently released Witches Stew, while Galactic is in the process of getting ready to record a new album after the success of 2015’s Into The Deep. Lettuce opened the night with a solid 80 minute set. The band didn’t do much in the overtly jazz style of their most recent release, but the fingerprints of the new album were all over the set. The band didn’t focus as much on pushing out a wall of sound towards the audience, instead emphasizing the interplay between the musicians. Each member weaved their jams in and around the work of the other players on stage. The interplay was tremendous, with everyone adding a little spice and flair. Particular standouts included Nigel Hall on the keyboard as well as vocals. Despite being in the corner of the stage behind his rig he was the ringleader and the member most responsible for engaging the crowd throughout the nights. The horns, not surprisingly, were the other standout. What really impressed me about the two horn players, other than their obvious talent, was their ability to add little things to the songs even when they weren’t the center of attention. They mixed their horns with percussion work to always add an extra flair to the tune.

The band did a great job mixing their mellow jams with some more fast-paced tunes. My favorite stuff from Lettuce is always their powerhouse songs, and I was glad that they played some jammed-out versions of “Madision Square” and “Phyllis.” They even threw in a nice 80’s cover with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” which they kept very chill until the chorus. There weren’t too many jaw-dropping highlights from their set, but it was a solid start to the evening.

Galactic, on the other hand, always brings a dance party to the table, and this show was no different. The band moved back and forth between their classic New Orleans brass instrumentals and their newer, more vocal-focused songs. De facto member Erica Falls handled vocal duties exceptionally well (as she always does), which is all the more impressive given the wide array of vocalists the band has used on their albums. She’s able to belt out faster paced songs like “Higher and Higher” and move down into the soulful songs such as “Into The Deep” without missing a note. And, of course, Galactic is extremely tight, able to make extremely complex sections of music look effortless. Drumm Stanton Moore is of course a highlight, and I don’t think there’s a better, more complete drummer in the game right now.

While I absolutely enjoy their instrumental work (and they are one of the few bands that I’d enjoy with no vocals at all), I have to say I have a lot of fun dancing to their more recent tunes. “Dolla Diva” is an extremely fun jam, and “Right On” is a song that you can’t help but dance along with. There’s just no way this band can take the stage and not have fans moving. The absolute highlight of the entire night, however, came in the encore. Galactic brought out about half of the members of Lettuce, including Hall, Ryan Zoidis, Benny Bloom, and, of course, drummer Adam Deitch. The 10+ minute closing jam was amazing, particularly the interplay between Moore and Deitch. Moore’s drum setup included a regular kit and extra percussion pieces off to the side. Deitch started out on the percussion side with Moore in front of the main kit. Mid-jam, the two seamlessly switched positions without missing a single beat, including the kick drum. They went on to pull that switch off 3 more times, including in the middle of a full-on drum solo. These two are insanely talented, and seeing them work together so well was something to behold.

Overall, this was a great night and a fun show from both bands. I’m looking forward to checking each out again in the near future. Lettuce as they continue to explore some new areas and Galactic as they continue to be the representatives of New Orleans funk to much of the country. They’re both headlining bands in my opinion, and watching the two of them together in a packed House of Blues is about as good of a concert as I can imagine.



Peach Fest adds artists
Peach Fest added some great new artists to an already solid lineup. New additions include The Revivalists, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and a collaboration between moe. and Little Feet who will team up to play the classic Waiting For Columbus album.

Summer Meltdown announces lineup
The Summer Meltdown Festival will take place in Darrington, Washington from August 2-5. This fest will feature a great mix of acts. The initial lineup include Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Beats Antique, Lettuce, Twiddle, Papadosio, Pimps of Joytime, and many others.

Phish announce Billy Breathes vinyl release
Phish will be releasing a limited number of Billy Breathes vinyls on Record Store Day. This double album will be available only at independent record stores on Record Store Day, April 21.


Suwannee Spring Reunion
March 22-25
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
The Infamous Stringdusters, Donna the Buffalo, Larry Keel Experience, Dar Williams, Billy Strings, Amy Helm, The Grass is Dead

Winter Wondergrass Tahoe
April 6-8
Squaw Valley, CA
The Devil Makes Three, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, The California Honeydrops, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fruition, The Lil’ Smokies

Wannee Festival
April 19-21
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, North Mississippi Allstars, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 20-22
Centennial Park
Atlanta, GA
String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sturgill Simpson, Vulfpeck, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Papadosio, The Record Company, Spafford, Southern Avenue

April 26-29
Wilkes Community College
Wilkesboro, NC
Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Sam Bush, The Devil Makes Three, Donna the Buffalo, The Way Down Wanderers, Wesley Bright & The Honeytones

Charm City Bluegrass Festival
April 27-28
Druid Hill Park
Baltimore, MD
The Devil Makes Three, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The Steeldrivers, Jeff Austin Band, Billy Strings, Larry Keel Experience

May 17-19
Fort Royale Farm
Bedford, PA
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

May 24-27
Cumberland, MD
The Del McCoury Band, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, The Bluegrass Congress, Old Crow Medicine Show, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, The Jerry Douglas Band, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival, Fruition, Billy Strings

Summer Camp
May 25-27
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Beats Antique, EOTO, Everyone Orchestra, Keller Williams, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Lettuce, Slightly Stoopid, Papadosio, Twiddle, Yonder Mountain String Band

Dark Star Jubilee
May 25-27
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Dark Star Orchestra, Los Lobos, Infamous Stringdusters, Hot Tuna, The Nth Power, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Camp Greensky
May 31-June 2
Wellston, MI
Greensky Bluegrass, Jeff Tweedy, Trampled By Turtles, Fruition, Billy Strings

Purple Hatter’s Ball
June 1-2
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
Lettuce, Spafford, Breaking Biscuits, Toubab Krewe, The Heavy Pets, Southern Ave.

Music on the Mothership
June 1-3
Taos, NM
moe., Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Rising Appalachia, Antibalas, Assembly of Dust, Fruition, Nicki Bluhm, Melvin Seals

June 7-10
Manchester, TN
Eminem, Muse, The Killers, Bassnectar, The Revivalists, Rebelution, STS9, Mavis Staples, Trombone Shorty, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Blue Ox Music Festival
June 14-16
Eau Claire, WI
Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, Sam Bush, Del McCoury Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Margo Price, Billy Strings

Mountain Jam
June 15-17
Hunter Mountain, NY
Jack Johnson, Sturgill Simpson, alt-J, The War On Drugs, Portugal. The Man, The Decembrists, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Rag n’ Bone Man, Turkuaz, The Record Company

Electric Forest Weekend 1
June 21-24
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Xavier Rudd, Andy Frasco & The UN, Aqueous, Big Something, Corey Henry & The Funk Apostles, Everyone Orchestra, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Manic Focus, Shook Twins, The Main Squeeze, The Werks, The Nth Power, Toubab Krewe, Turkuaz

Electric Forest Weekend 2
June 28-July 1
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Xavier Rudd, Aqueous, Big Something, Corey Henry & The Funk Apostles, Everyone Orchestra, Fruition, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Manic Focus, Shook Twins, The Main Squeeze, The Werks, The Nth Power, Toubab Krewe, Turkuaz

High Sierra
July 5-8
Quincy, CA
String Cheese Incident, Sturgill Simpson, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, Turkuaz, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, Fruition, Spafford

Camp Bisco
July 12-14
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
The Disco Biscuits, Bassnectar, Excision, Bonobo, The Floozies, Lettuce, TAUK, Lotus, Papadosio

The Ride Festival
July 14-15
Telluride, CO
The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, Grace Potter, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something

Peach Festival
July 19-22
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Gov’t Mule, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dicky Betts, moe., Twiddle, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Blackberry Smoke, Turkuaz, Leftover Salmon, The Main Squeeze,

Northwest String Summit
July 19-22
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Fruition, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers

July 25-29
Floyd, VA
Foster the People, The Infamous Stringdusters, Hiss Golden Messenger

Element Music Festival
July 26-29
Snug Lake Ampitheatre
British Columbia
Lotus, Spafford, Particle

Summer Meltdown Festival
August 2-5
Darrington, WA
Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Beats Antique, Papadosio, Twiddle, Pimps of Joytime

August 23-26
Arrington, VA
Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Sheryl Crow, Lettuce, George Clinton & P-Funk, Blues Traveler, Matisyahu, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!