Music » Livewire


with Papa Mali


Tonight's dose of the Big Easy comes in hot and cold. Galactic is the epitome of cool; the group's jazzy, low-riding funk shimmies with the sexy, careless sway of a chest-painted hippie tripping topless. But unlike many of Galactic's groove-obsessed peers, they deal in melody and not just endless noodling. Unfortunately, their albums fail to adequately capture the lush sonic tapestries that the band produces live (not to mention the drug-addled sense of community).

Compared to Galactic's loose, spacey vibe, opener Papa Mali is a raging volcano. An amazing slide guitarist and demonstrative singer, the dreadlocked Malcom "Papa Mali" Welbourne cooks a gumbo boiling with greasy funk, slow blues, and swamp-rock boogie. Welbourne's energy is abundant, and his music involves a goosy, ramshackle spirit that's always ready to pitch in for another keg.

Mali's blend of roots and soul displays an appeal far beyond that of your standard jam band, while its explosive performances are like Flogging Molly -- if Molly had been born on the bayou.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.