When it tours, Galactic most always schedules Lake Tahoe’s gem, the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room.
The powerful New Orleans band will be back in the Crown Room on March 25, near the end of a more than six-weeklong winter tour. It won’t be the smallest venue it plays – that distinction is the 165-capacity Knotty Pine Supper Club in Victor, Idaho — but it is one of the smaller ones. It’s also a favorite for the band members.
“It’s just kind of fun in the middle of a tour to play a smaller room,” bassist Robert Mercurio said. “You play in all these big rooms and then you just play a tiny little club and it brings you back in a good way.”
Mercurio and Galactic drummer Stanton Moore also will play in the 750-capacity Crown Room on Wednesday, Nov. 29, with Dragon Smoke, along with Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville and Folsom, Louisiana, guitarist-songwriter Eric Lindell. Dragon Smoke rarely plays outside of New Orleans, but this will be its third Crystal Bay appearance.
The New Orleans-Crystal Bay connection is as sweet as a beignet dessert. In the last year, the North Shore casino has presented NOLA-based Rebirth Brass Band, The Nth Power, Flow Tribe, Anders Osborne and Big Sam’s Funky Nation.
Mercurio has frequented Tahoe enough to build friendships. He hosted a bass workshop at Split Rock Music in Truckee and mingles with concertgoers before and after Crystal Bay Casino shows.
“Tahoe has a really great community of musicians and they always do those after-shows at the Red Room,” Mercurio said. “I tend to go out and see the show and I always end up meeting people and seeing old friends and so I get to see the community a lot more than some other cities.”
Upon graduating high school, Washington, D.C. natives Mercurio and guitarist Jeff Raines moved to New Orleans. They started Galactic more than 20 years ago. Mercurio said the band took off when the drummer Moore joined.
While Galactic has a syncopated New Orleans sound, it constantly explores new areas, including, for a while, hip-hop. There have been several singers, including Cory Glover, Cyril Neville and Maggie Koerner. The 2015 album, “Into The Deep,” featured vocalists Macy Gray, Mavis Staples and J.J. Grey. When Glover elected to devote more time to his band Living Color, Erica Falls moved into the role touring lead vocalist.
“Even though we’ve been known to go on tour with different vocalists over the last 10 years, it was always very organic the way people would come and go,” Mecurio said. “Erica has a solo thing going on, but she’s willing to put us in a priority situation.”
Falls sings on a Galactic song “Hold On To Let Go,” which Mecurio said will be included on a new record.
“We are about halfway through the album with a few different special guests, one being Erica Falls, Mercurio said. “We hope to have it out by this summer.”
When: 9 p.m. Sunday, March 25
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
After-party: High & Mighty Brass Band