Turkuaz Pearl Street Ballroom Northampton MA October 17, 2018 Photos by Kelly D
Let’s just say that it’s not too common for me to go out and hit a random Wednesday for a show nearly an hour from my house. But my lady loves her some Turkuaz, and it seemed like a bunch of friends were going, and the cocktail of enticements was just too heady to ignore. The Pearl Street Ballroom had a good number of people in there for a random WED night, a few hundred people probably. We missed the opener, Butcher Brown, and we were hanging out with friends as Turkuaz took the stage. (By all accounts Butcher Brown slayed- if anyone has thoughts they’d like to share about the band, please email us at [email protected]!)
The band gets better every time I see them and this show was no exception. Their music has evolved from “four on the floor” dance funk to a compositional funk style that is more in line with Earth Wind and Fire’s most ambitious writing or the more intellectual modern funk of folks like the New Mastersounds.
They fired off one song after another, with just a few seconds between songs for the dance floor to catch their breath. The band has become adept at passing the baton around the band, with lead singing duties alternating between guitarist Dave Brandwein, and vocalists Sammi Garett and Shira Elias. The sound is a full frontal aural assault with a thick band that includes keyboards, lead guitar, horns and a super solid rhythm section.
At times I noticed that the sound mix wasn’t perfect for me which could have been based on my position in the room- I found myself wanting the lead vocals to ride on top of the mix instead of within it as I was hearing. I had no troubles hearing the fun bassy backing vocals of sax man Joshua Schwartz but at times had time focusing on the front vocals clearly. But that is a bit nit picky. Turkuaz fired off 16 songs over the course of a couple of hours, and left the audience sweaty but not wanting.
I ran into so many friends there including my man Marc Lovely who has his own music pages called cue. the Medicine. With his permission here are some of his thoughts on the night: “…When I got there, it opened my heart and I truly enjoyed myself for hour and a half. It took me away. It picked me up and placed me on an island away from everything. And boy, it was peaceful and warm and sunny. I danced alone, met some cool people, danced with them, and sat dead, front and center…
‘Music can save your mortal soul,’ to take a quote from Don McLean. It is a healer, a shoulder to cry on, and a crutch for your mind, body, and soul. Without it I could not survive… I guess what I’m really trying to say is that however down you get, there is someone who has also been there, probably lower than you. And they probably wrote a song about it. You should listen to it. Viva la música.
And thank you Turkuaz for bringing the funk and also taking away the funk I was in.” Check out Marc’s musical world at cue.the medicine. I was super stoked to follow up my recent Wormtown Turkuaz experience with this one.
To see the full review of that day at Wormtown, and to hear the Turkuaz set from that night. That show also included Pink Talking Fish, Zach Deputy, the Get Right Band and Leftover Salmon all of which are chronicled in this review which includes tons of audio.
The latest video release from Turkuaz: