Turkuaz | 04.12.2014 | Electric Haze | Worcester, MA

 

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04/12/14 :: Electric Haze :: Worcester, MA

 

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Words & Photos By: Natalia Samman

The future of funk is here, and its name rhymes with “Burkwozz”. Brooklyn-based funk squad Turkuaz (“Turquoise” in Turkish, before you ask) took over Electric Haze in Worcester, MA Saturday night. The band, who formed at Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2008, was celebrating the release of their third album titled Future 86. This popping, 11-track record crushes lyrics on top of rhythms.

 

“The future of funk is here, and its name rhymes with “Burkwozz””

 

The vibe at Electric Haze was sizzling. The delicious local craft beer selection, the comfy booths and couches complete with hookahs that waft out over the crowd and float across rainbows of light beaming off stage, the 3ft ball of glowing, color-changing LED wire hanging over the crowd like a psychedelic beehive… well, let’s just say atmosphere was a 5 out of 5. The walls at Electric Haze are adorned with some of the sweetest art I’ve seen in awhile, all from local artists. It was a gorgeous night, so the party spilled out onto the sidewalks, and people enjoyed the music from many different spots. It was a colorful crowd equipped with smiles, patchwork and tye die, poi, hugs, and hoops. The staff was super friendly and chill.20140412_234055_450x600

Turkuaz went on at 8pm and rocked until a solid 1:30am, taking only a 30 minute set break. Not too shabby.

They tore into the first set with a Sly and the Family Stone cover “M’lady” and, given the level of energy felt around the room, the crowd was hooked, and we all knew it was going to be a fire night. They also played the “birthday song” for “whoever in here has a birthday tonight; we heard someone does.”
Highlights of the second set: “Digitonium” into “Electric Habitat” and “Snap Your Fingers” transported the entire venue forward to the year 3000, while “Everyone’s a Winner” and “Feeling All Right” were more like a journey back to 1977.

20140412_232024_450x600Self-proclaimed #1 Fan “Dickie Beard” (who was all smiles for his 99th show) described the band as “the Talking Heads meets James Brown… re-born. Power Funk.” While guitarist Dave Brandwein does have a voice just like David Byrne, I felt more like these cats were emulating the uber-catchy, throw-back, Motown-funk riffs of the godfathers themselves, ParliamentFunkadelic, fused with the spacey, rock-your-socks off jams of Lettuce. It was new and old all at once, nothing but a dance party all night long.

The stage exploded with energy; this 9-piece squad boasts multi-instrumentalist musicians (there were 6 guitars on stage). Craig Brodhead not only shreds guitar but also tears up keys. Sammi and Geneva can both belt it out Chakakhan -style but at other times kept it candy, and I felt like I was listening to Banarama especially during tunes like “Bijou.” Chris Brouwers was also doing double -duty on keys and trumpet, sometimes simultaneously. On the right side of the stage, you’ll find Josh Schwartz, a large man with a crazy vocal range and a large, engraved baritone saxophone. Standing beside him was Greg Sanderson, a smaller man with a tenor sax. Behind those two, Taylor Shell steers the entire funk-ship through space-time with thunder-punishing bass.IMG_2574_400x600

 

Sammi told Festival Footprints, “Our only goal is to make you happy, and if you’re happy, then we did our job!”

 

As they played, you could see in their faces that they were delighting themselves and one another. Sammi,Garett and Geneva literally got off stage to admire Craig and to give him some grooving-room as he destroyed his solo on the“Monkey Fingers” encore to close out the night. While Michelangelo Carubba turned his drum kit into a machine gun from the future, Tenor Saxist Greg Sanderson could be seen mouthing “oh yeahhhh. I like that. ” Their jams were organized and tight, and for a relatively new band, they already sound like seasoned professionals. How is this possible? Sammi told Festival Footprints, “Our only goal is to make you happy, and if you’re happy, then we did our job!” Catching up with Dave Brandwein, he shared that he mentally prepares between sets; apparently, the secret to success is “mental jumping jacks.”

“Turkuaz is definitely the next big thing in the live music scene, a band worth traveling for, a band that should come with a shake-your-booty-or-money-back guarantee. Turkuaz is bringing new life into classic funk, and there seems to be nowhere to go but up for this down -to- earth, upbeat, funky Brooklyn soul team.”

 

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