Galactic with jazz pharmacy and Jo Momma at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Sunday (July 29). $15. 416-870-8000.
four months ago, guitarist jeff Raines and his Galactic mates were about to make an inter-planetary leap from their mothership but decided to remain aboard despite being completely alien to the rest of the crew. Renowned for all-night jams and exhausting improvisational sets, the New Orleans funk band are banking that the rock-bent Volcano label will blast them into uncharted territories and get their music heard.
Since the label bought out Atlanta-based Capricorn Records, the company Galactic initially signed with in 99, a lot of acts have been dropped
"We're waiting to see what working with Volcano is like, but we have high hopes," says Raines from his earthly base in New Orleans.
"Sticking with a rock label might make it easier to get our music on the radio and offer a way to access state-of- the-art studios."
It's now full speed ahead for captain Raines, who brings his star-studded sextet to the Opera House Sunday.
Crew member vocalist Theryl "Houseman" de Clouet -- who released his own solo album, The Houseman Cometh!, in January 2000 -- will be beaming his soulful vocals to new audiences with the release of We Love 'Em Tonight (Live At Tipitina's), their fourth disc and first live release, due in stores August 21.
"Six months ago we thought we were going to be without a label," says Raines. We always wanted our fourth album to be live and we really wanted something out there, even if we weren't signed to anyone.
"When Capricorn was bought out, we already had the album in hand, and Volcano kept us and agreed to release it."
Recorded over three nights of gigging at the Big Easy's legendary Tipitina's, the monster 73-minute disc stirs up a musical cauldron of bluegrass, brass-band boogie and spacey rock and roll inspired equally by the otherworldly funk of George Clinton and the groovey getdowns of the Meters.
That New Orleans feel has attracted devotees of neo-hippy jam bands who picked up on the Galactic vibe at American music festivals like H.O.R.D.E. and opening for Widespread Panic.
"That whole jam scene really benefited us, and our connection to Panic really helped our name get out there.
"Although our music is something more than the jam band sound, we tour with their ethic of staying on the road without counting on much radio play."