New Orleans-based funksters Galactic may be on the cusp of picking up a whole new audience with the release of "Ruckus," the band's fourth studio album and first to seriously delve into electronica (big-shot producer Dan the Automator manned the dials). Like Medeski, Martin and Wood or Maceo Parker, Galactic's sound is defined by burning grooves, veteran musicianship and a devotion to pushing the boundaries by incorporating elements of hip-hop, acid jazz and fusion. Drummer Stanton Moore is recognized as one of the top stickmen in the game, having also played with jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Karl Denson. Galactic joins Buckethead 8 p.m. Sunday at The Granada, 1020 Mass.
Ah, the high school battle of the bands ... the place where memories are made, PA speakers are abused and VHS tapes are employed to create future "Before They Were Stars ..." episodes. This year's crop features the talents of One Jack Short, Living Rodkil, Acute A.D.D., J Boogie and Playskool and The Rivals. Vote now or forever hold your peace. The competition begins 6 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence High School, 1901 La.
Reviving the lightly funky but deeply soulful instrumental R&B sound of Booker T and the MG's and The Meters, The Diplomats of Solid Sound confirm the existence of dance-floor filling, Hammond Organ-driven soul music in Iowa City, Iowa. The ensemble recently hooked up with Estrus! Records (Man or Astroman?) for its new disc "Destination ... Get Down!" The band joins The Blues Leaves 10 p.m. today at The Replay Lounge, 946 Mass.
Two years ago, Signs of Life Gallery opened its doors on Massachusetts Street and has since been host to works by both regional and national artists. Gallery director James Schaefer has lingered behind the scenes during that stretch, but he's been working in his studio for the past month. "Signs and Seasons," a solo exhibition opening with a reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. today, highlights the fruits of his labor. The show includes about 40 pieces of botanical, landscape and figurative work from the past two years. "Signs and Seasons" is Schaefer's fourth solo exhibition in eight years, but the other three have been at the Watergate Gallery in Washington, D.C. His Lawrence debut will remain on view through May 28.
'Calling from the Smoke'
Acclaimed Oneida playwright Bruce King wrote the comedy "Calling from the Smoke" especially for Haskell Indian Nations University's Thunderbird Theatre. In the show, Nano Bush, a traditional trickster figure from the Northeast, calls together the Henhawk family to present his idea for the next Hollywood blockbuster. Drawn by the allure of "easy money" as a means to happiness, Nano Bush pitches his inspired drama. But as with many of Nano Bush's plans, things don't always turn out as expected. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.