As I was thinking about what to title this review, I couldn’t help but remember the three guys that I briefly talked to after the Galaxy Express set on Saturday at Barracuda Backyard at South by Southwest (SXSW or Southby to locals and longtime attendees). The three guys, in their mid to late 30s I would say, had obviously never seen Galaxy Express before and it was equally obvious that they were seriously blown away by the band. They kept repeating, several times as it’s what got my attention, “F*cking amazing! They were f*cking amazing!” And when they noticed I was paying attention to them, they asked me if I agreed. I did but since I generally don’t curse, I simply replied “Yeah, they were amazing.” But one of the guys quickly corrected me by saying, “No, they were f*cking amazing!” as he obviously felt the show required the extra adjective.
To put it simply, those three random guys were right. The show blew my mind and I was expecting them to be amazing. They were at the K-pop Night Out showcase the night before (review and photos coming soon). And from everything I’d heard about them in the years that I’ve reviewed their music, their live shows always rock. So it wasn’t a surprise to me. But the set on Saturday was something magical. It was the perfect way to end this year’s SXSW.
And in many ways, I’m happy that it was the last show I was covering this year as it would have set the bar high for everything that followed if it happened earlier in the festival. It was that impressive.
The set was simply just great music played with such passion that it was impossible to not get swept up in it. I’ve been covering music for several years now and there are very few bands or artists that make me forget that I’m working, forget the need to take photos during the set, even among those that I’m a fan of but Galaxy Express did that night. The passion, the sheer expression of the music, was so captivating that it made everything else fade away. I honestly can’t remember a set I’ve enjoyed that much in a while.
While it may seem that I’m heaping superlatives on a show, that’s not the case. It was just that good. Sure, there was little interaction with the audience, other than introducing the band and saying thanks. They simply, and very effectively, played music. With heart, passion and so much energy that it was impossible not to get swept up and move/dance along with them. I left the show feeling energized and wishing the set was longer. And a bigger fan than I started out.
There was no one element of the show that stood out, it was more a culmination of several factors that elevated the show from amazing to a higher level. From their stage presence to how well every sound blended together – the bass, guitar and drums almost becoming one.
But for those of us that live in North America, it’s not always an option so listen to their music. Luckily, they’re coming out with new music this year, starting with the just released “The Way”, a powerful instrumental rock song. So check it out.