Garaj Mahal @ 12 Galaxies - San Francisco, CA (11/3/06)
Set 1: Hotel, Hindi Gumbo, Tachyonics, Gulam Sabri
Set 2: Weapons Of Mass Distruction, Massive, Alvin, Never Give Up
Encore: Material Girl
Garaj Mahal is one of those bands universally respected for their instrumental prowess yet can’t seem to get over the hump in terms of popularity. After listening to these two shows from last November it’s easy to see why. Like the fusion of Miles Davis, much of this stuff isn’t sugarcoated for the average listener. But those who get it, really get it. The Bay Recorders Organization swooped into San Francisco and Petaluma to capture these concerts in crystalline audio.
Each night the band comes out swinging, diving right into its complex compositions. One can’t ask for much more in a rhythm section than what you get from Alan Hertz and Kai Eckhart. Hertz’s drumming is death-defying at points. The relentless, fluid bass-runs by Eckhart are occasionally mind-warping.
The band has delved deeper into a global sound, pulling off a few multi-cultural experiments. Fareed Haque’s guitar/sitar hybrid makes a few memorable appearances. This reviewer loved the first disc of each show and felt like the band faded as the shows progressed. The first set of the Mystic Theater represents Garaj Mahal at its best. Buckle your seatbelt for “The Shadow.”