BEN ELLMAN: Out of this world.
New Orleans-based Galactic, now turned completely instrumental while blending funk, rock and jazz-infuse jam sounds, stops by Juanita’s Cantina Ballroom on Thursday, April 14.
The move to an instrumental style -– actually a return to its original roots when the band was formed in 1994 — came after the group’s amicable split with vocalist Theryl deClouet a few months ago. Galactic now consists of Robert Mercurio (bass), Jeff Raines (guitar), Stanton Moore (drums), Ben Ellman (saxophone) and Rich Vogel (Hammond B3 organ). Described as organic-electronic, the New Orleans funk favorites have a developed big following in the United States, Europe and Japan, which could be one reason why tickets to Thursday’s show are going for $22.
The eerie but interesting multi-instrumentalist (and dare we say performance artist) Buckethead will open the show at 9 p.m. He performs in character, with a Michael Myers-type mask and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head – yes, it’s strange. He has ties with underground hip-hop and rock/metal and joined the reformed Guns ‘N Roses with Axl Rose for a short stint a few years back.
Sticky Fingerz will play host to the three-piece jam band Drums and Tuba on Friday, April 15. D and T uses the aforementioned instruments along with guitar and a looping device to layer its sound. Drums and Tuba must be seen live to be truly appreciated; hence, D and T’s latest CD is titled “Live.” The group also will be playing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival at the end of this month. Eckobase, a popular Fayetteville band, will open at 9 p.m. Admission is $7.
There’s even more to jam to: New Monsoon, a world, rock, ’grass and jam band from San Francisco, has played at the Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Telluride Bluegrass festivals. Catch New Monsoon at Sticky Fingerz Wednesday, April 20 (9 p.m.; $8).
Some may sense a slight bias towards the blues genre in this weekly feature, but we couldn’t help but mention the two-piece Trainreck appearing at the Press Box on Friday, April 15. Trainreck is a blues traditionalist’s dream that plays originals in the street style of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Junior Kimbrough and Son House; in fact, the duo covers all of them. K.M. Williams, a National guitar-playing ordained minister, and “Washboard” Jackson, a multi-percussionist, have made two albums — “There’s a Trainreck Comin’ ” and “The Train Keep on Rollin’.” The date here in Little Rock is part of a Delta tour, and Trainreck has been booked for the June Roots and Blues Festival in Parma, Italy.
Music starts around 9 p.m. Admission is $5.
Get your mazel tov on with the completely kosher Meshugga Klezmer Band, appearing 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, at the Afterthought. Meshugga’s repertoire includes wedding numbers, waltzes and quite a few songs with the world “hora” in them. No smoking will be permitted at the show. Admission is $5.
If you just can’t make it to New Orleans’ Jazzfest beginning April 22, take heart: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, will appear at Sticky Fingerz on Thursday, April 21, before returning home for the festival. The 28-year-old band’s latest albums are the multi-award-winning, “Funeral for a Friend,” showing the DDBB’s roots in gospel and blues, and a just-released live collection, “This Is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.”
The last year has been a busy one for the Dirty Dozen; they’ve toured overseas and have made appearances on award-winning albums by Dave Matthews, Widespread Panic, Dr. John and Modest Mouse, which shows the group’s cross-genre abilities and appeal.
Their shows here are known to sell out; tickets are available at Sticky Fingerz for $12. The Fundamentals from St. Louis return to Little Rock to open the show at 9 p.m.
Cornerstone Deli and Pub in North Little Rock is planning an outdoor expansion, much like Fayetteville club George’s Majestic Lounge, with a “biergarten” style patio and bar in the back of the venue. A member of management says they are getting price quotes from contractors now and hope to have the expansion completed by Memorial Day weekend, in time for Riverfest.
On Friday, Cornerstone is hosting Chaz Sharp and Soul Fix and Weakness for Blondes on Saturday (10 p.m.; $5).
Saturday, April 16, marks a big night for local artists at the bigger clubs. R&B-influenced Afrodesia headlines at Juanita’s, veteran bluesman Cedell Davis does the late-night shift at Midtown Billiards, the versatile Forrest Williams Band is at Underground Pub, cover act Superflux with frontwoman Cara Hayes is back at Cajun’s Wharf, and heavy rockers Loch Ness play Vino’s Brewpub.