Turkuaz at Teragram Ballroom

Review and photos by Andy J. Gordon on February 13, 2019
Turkuaz at Teragram Ballroom

Brooklyn-based Turkuaz, the nine-piece explosion of rock, R&B, funk, soul and psychedelic-trip rock are in the middle of their “Life in the City” tour. They blasted into the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles and he packed house of rabid, dancing fans enjoyed a spectacular night of the group’s infectious beats.

Their Life In the City album was released in September 2018 and the band has hit the road hard ever since. They are playing songs from the new album as well as select tunes from 2011’s self-titled Turkuaz and 2014’s Future 86, as well as 2015’s Stereochrome and Digitonium. The Los Angeles show was full of the band’s usual high energy, with choreographed dance moves, amazing harmonies and great horn arrangements. The dramatic stage production was a visual rainbow as the musicians’ contrasting-color outfits were enhanced by the creative light show that was impeccably synchronized to the music.

They opened with the funky soul throwback tune “Bubba Slide,” from Future 86. The musicians’ incredible chops were immediately apparent. Dave Brandwein played guitar and sang along with Sammi Garett and Shira Elias. Chris Brouwers on trumpet, Greg Sanderson on tenor sax and Josh Schwartz on baritone sax played their funky horns in tight synchronization. Taylor Shell’s thumping bass and Michelangelo Carubba’s thundering drums filled the low end. Craig Brodhead played an intense lead guitar solo.

The crowd went wild from the opening notes straight through to the last song of the encore. Along the way, they danced their booties off to great versions of “E.Y.E. (Lookin’ Good)” and “Tiptoe Through the Crypto” from Future 86. Garett really nailed the vocals on “Tiptoe.” “Percy Thrills, The Moondog” from Digitonium and “Back to Normal” from Turkuaz were high-paced romps that featured great harmonies and tightly arranged marches by all the band members that inspired the crowd to join in.

The band threw in two well-chosen covers during the show. The Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” drew loud applause and showcased some excellent electronic keyboard work by Chris Brouwers. Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” drew gasps of disbelief and appreciative applause as Josh Schwartz belted out the lyrics while Elias and Garett offered silky background harmonies.

Turkuaz also mixed in a few of the new tracks that were warmly received. “Make You Famous” featured a wild Greg Sanderson electronic wind instrument solo. “Lady Lovely” is a groovy tune with a chest-pumping Shell bass line and a funky Brodhead guitar solo. “Life in the City” is the new single that has a catchy melody, more great harmonizing and killer drum beats by Carubba. They closed the set with “The Question,” a track that focuses on Elias’ fantastic vocals and has trippy keyboard and guitar lines along with more sweet horn arrangements.

Finally, they closed the entire show with a two-song encore. The first, “Electric Habitat” from Future 86, has a hypnotic guitar riff and smooth, alternating vocals from Brandwein, Elias and Garett. Once the horns jumped in, the crowd got reenergized and bounced to the rhythm. Brodhead finished up that song with a scorching guitar solo. After the crowd begged for one more, Brandwein thanked everyone for the enthusiastic support and launched into “Coast to Coast” from their self-titled 2011 album. It featured more fantastic harmonies, tight horns, great guitar solos and thumping beats.

The exhausted, sweat-drenched and exhilarated crowd filed out of the ballroom in a delirious state. Turkuaz delivered another exceptional show, living up to their reputation as a fun, fresh and super high-energy live band that should not be missed.