with Con Brio
with Con Brio
|Age:||Ages 21+ Only|
The american jam band, "Galactic" brings New Orleans funk to a more modern style, incorporating elements of hip hop, electronica, fusion, and jazz.Buy Tickets
PRESALE, THU APRIL 27 @ 10AM
ON SALE, FRI APRIL 28 @10AM
Genre: Jazz / Funk
Ticket Price: $35 advanced and day of show
Table 2 - $60 x (Limit is 4 tickets for this section. Table seating for 4)
Table 3 - $60 x (Limit is 4 tickets for this section. Table seating for 4)
Table 4 - $60 x (Limit is 4 tickets for this section. Table seating for 4)
Opera Box 1 - $60 x (Limit is 6 tickets for this section. Plush Seating for 6.)
Opera Box 2 - $60 x (Limit is 6 tickets for this section. Plush Seating for 6.)
Opera Box 3 - $60 x (Limit is 6 tickets for this section. Plush Seating for 6.)
Opera Box 4 - $60 x (Limit is 6 tickets for this section. Plush Seating for 6.)
PARKING: Street parking and paid lot parking available.
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It’s been more than 20 years since Ben Ellman, Robert Mercurio, Stanton Moore, Jeff Raines
and Rich Vogel began exploring the seemingly limitless musical possibilities born out of their
work together as Galactic. Since then, the seminal New Orleans band has consistently pushed
artistic boundaries on the road and in the studio, approaching their music with open ears and
drawing inspiration as much from the sounds bubbling up from their city’s streets as they do
from each other.
A key part of that creative spark comes from the teamwork of Mercurio and Ellman, whose
ever-evolving production and arranging skills helped usher the band into a new phase of studio
work beginning with the loop-centric “Ruckus” in 2007. A series of albums focused around
specific concepts like Carnival followed, as did collaborations with guests hailing from worlds
outside the one Galactic calls its own.
On “Into the Deep,” the band members look within themselves instead, drawing inspiration
from people and ideas that have long been close to their hearts – and, in turn, close to the
development of their unique sound. Shot through with soul, funk, blues and rock, the result is
an organic riff on elements of Galactic’s past, filtered through the lens of where they’re headed
“I see this album as a kind of culmination of all of our collaborations or experiences, from
[trombonist] Corey Henry to the people we met on the road, touring,” says Mercurio,
referencing Ellman’s first full-time gig in New Orleans, which kicked off when Henry hired him
into the Little Rascals Brass Band in 1989.
“The previous albums took us in the opposite direction,” Mercurio says. “We collaborated with
rappers that we had never dealt with and even on the New Orleans tracks, we didn’t have
working experience with most of those artists before the recordings.”
In contrast, “Into the Deep” contributors like JJ Grey, David Shaw and Maggie Koerner spent
significant time touring with Galactic. A few years ago, Mavis Staples sat in with the band, all of
whom are longtime fans of the legendary singer’s R&B-meets-gospel soul style. They caught
up with Macy Gray when she performed a memorable concert at Tipitina’s where Ellman says
he could see from the outset “how much she cares about the music.” And each of the players
had also developed a deep appreciation for the Honorable South’s Charm Taylor, whose
contribution, “Right On” was written specifically to suit her vibe.
“Quint Davis [the producer of] Jazz Fest always has a couple people he books at the festival
that aren’t big names but that Quint knows are going to be super cool,” says Ellman. “That’s
how we met Brushy One-String. We originally wanted to bring him in to do anything, just to see
what would happen. But when we heard his song ‘Chicken in the Corn,’ we really wanted to do
our version of it.”
In the end, he joined them on the road for over a month, collaborating with the band onstage at
For the instrumental tracks, Galactic mined the interests and tastes they’ve cultivated together
for years in New Orleans. “Buck 77” was written via improvisation, a long-standing cornerstone
of their live shows. The funky bass line and tumbling guitar part on “Long Live the Borgne,”
meanwhile, represents an updated, more composed take on some of the concepts that made
early albums like “Coolin’ Off” so strong.
As for the opener “Soogar Doosie,” Ellman points out Galactic tends to record at least one
track on each album that speaks to the band’s collective love of brass band music.
“We write [those songs] with the idea of how awesome it would be to hear the Rebirth going
down doing the street in a second line playing one of our songs. We try to think of a real
second line song that would get people slapping stop signs and dancing on cars,” he says.
The album, Ellman says “is all about people. It’s these connections we’ve made over 20 years.
They’re people in our orbit that have come into our little world and affected us in some way.”
It’s also about how the individual musicians within Galactic have grown over time. When it
comes to trying new approaches as players, producers, songwriters and arrangers, Ellman
muses, “it’s an evolution.”
The night before Con Brio headed into the studio to record their first full-length album, 23-year-old Ziek McCarter had a dream. In it, the singer received a visit from his father, an Army veteran who died at the hands of East Texas police in 2011. His father delivered an invitation: Come with me to paradise.
McCarter woke up with a song in his bones. “It was one of the most spiritual moments of my life,” he recalls. It was up to him, he knew, to rise above injustice, and to perform in a way that lifted up those around him as well. To make Con Brio’s music a place of serenity, compassion — even euphoria — right here on earth.
Paradise, which saw the San Francisco band teaming with legendary producer Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Beck, Seu Jorge), is the result: a declaration of independence you can dance to; an assertion of what can happen when the human spirit is truly free.
Formed in 2013, Con Brio is the offspring of seven musicians with diverse backgrounds but a shared love for the vibrant Bay Area funk and psychedelic-soul sound pioneered by groups like Sly & the Family Stone.
By 2015, when the band self-produced their debut EP, Kiss the Sun, Con Brio had already become a West Coast institution on the strength of their magnetic live show, with McCarter’s swiveling hips, splits and backflips earning him frequent comparisons to a young Michael Jackson or James Brown.
After a busy 2015 spent touring the U.S. and Europe, playing alongside veterans Galactic and Fishbone, and racking up critical acclaim on proving grounds like Austin City Limits — where PopMatters declared Con Brio “the best new live band in America” — they headed home to parlay their momentum, chemistry and tight live sound into a full-length record.
In an era when much has been made of the “death of the album,” there’s no question that Paradise; released July 15th, is a fully-formed journey — a trip made all the more immersive by Caldato’s raw, live style of production. “We tried to create a narrative in the studio, in the same way that we segue between songs live,” explains McCarter of the record’s arc.
From the first primal wail of Benjamin Andrews’ electric guitar on the title track — Paradise is bookended by intro and outro versions — the album tells a story about modern life through its contradictions: “Liftoff” speaks of an urge to fly, to transcend the day-to-day with a starry, bird’s-eye view. “Hard Times” brings us crashing back to earth with the struggles of city life, inequality, and a fractured society desperate for healing. “Money” is a revolution, a rejection of societal pressure to equate success with a paycheck and abandon one’s dreams in the process.
“Free & Brave,” the band’s most overtly political anthem, is also arguably its most infectious. Over a driving R&B groove courtesy of veteran rhythm section Jonathan Kirchner and Andrew Laubacher (bass and drums), McCarter name-checks Trayvon Martin and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clearly inspired by his own personal relationship with police brutality, the song is equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful.
“‘Free & Brave’ is in part a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but it was also created to serve as a reminder — to myself and to whoever finds joy in that song — that there is a light there. We don’t have to get bogged down, we don’t have to feel helpless,” says McCarter. “We might not see it on a daily basis, but we are still ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’…I still take pride in that, in what pieces of joy and happiness we can create here with our actions.”
Of course, songs about love and passion remain Con Brio’s native tongue. (At a recent Australian festival in which the band shared a bill with D’Angelo, one journalist told McCarter his sex appeal had eclipsed that of his longtime idol. McCarter continues to have no comment.) So it’s a refreshing surprise that the strongest love song on Paradise, in fact, is “Honey,” a sweet, spacious and vulnerable tune that allows the band’s horn section, Brendan Liu and Marcus Stephens, to shine. Though the band’s built a reputation on sonic bravado, it’s choices like these — moments in which the music’s power flows from its subtlety — that truly highlight where Con Brio is going.
In the second half of 2016, Con Brio embarked on an ambitious international touring schedule, including stops at the lion’s share of major American music festivals (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Summerfest and San Francisco’s own Outside Lands); Fuji Rock, Japan’s largest annual music event; Montreal Jazz Fest, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; London; Paris; with many more international dates to come throughout the year.
Which is not to say they’re intimidated. After performing most of these songs live throughout the past year, the team is running on adrenaline, and they’re thrilled to finally put this record in people’s hands. To bring old fans along for the journey, to help new fans lose themselves in a beat or a message. To spread music that, hopefully, shakes away the daily grind — and nurtures listeners’ dreams about what their version of paradise on earth might look like, even for the duration of a song.
Ziek McCarter already knows what his looks like, because Con Brio’s building it. And from where he’s sitting, they’re well past ready for liftoff.
“We don’t want to walk, we don’t want to drive,” he says with a laugh. “We want to fly. We want to levitate.”