Turkuaz gets funky in Providence

Blending sounds of soul, funk and psychedelia, the Brooklyn based jam-band Turkuaz had Fête Music Hall dancing and grooving in Providence this past Saturday night.

The band is comprised of nine members: Dave Brandwein on guitar and vocals, Taylor Shell on bass, Craig Brodhead on guitar and synths, Michelangelo Carubba on drums, Greg Sanderson on saxophone, Joshua Schwartz on saxophone and vocals, Chris Brouwers on trumpet and keyboard, Sammi Garett on vocals and percussion and Shira Elias on vocals.

They are a visually striking band, as each member uniquely dresses head to toe in a certain color- white, black, red, purple, orange, blue, pink, yellow or green.

This was not the band’s first appearance at Fête. It is common in the jam community for bands to play concerts New Year’s Eve and the nights leading up to it, and Turkuaz did just that, playing this same venue through Dec. 30 – 31 last year.

On Saturday night, the band played two sets with a short intermission in between. During the sets, the crowd was captured in awe as the band danced in sync with one another, demonstrated their talented instrumental skills and passionately sang songs from across their nine year history. Each band member looked like they were having a great time, particularly the bassist, Shell. Dressed top to bottom in orange, from the sweatband around his head to the loafers on his feet, he did not stop grooving once.

The band performed their newest single, “On The Run,” to a positive crowd reception. Despite it being a bit more catchy and pop-oriented compared to their older catalog of music, people seemed to enjoy it. The single was produced by Jerry Harrison, keyboardist and guitarist for the Talking Heads. Turkuaz has sounds similar to Funkadelic, The Talking Heads and their jam band contemporaries, but distinguish themselves in their live shows and recorded music.

Kicking off the night were The Suffers, an opening act that really matched the talent of the band that followed. Fronted by lead singer Kam Franklin, the soul and funk band put their finely tuned skills on display throughout their set. Franklin had an utterly commanding stage presence, and dispersed wisdom, advice and the meanings behind lyrics in between songs. Her voice was spectacular. Franklin shared that the two bands met after playing at the same festival, and have been friends since.

Turkuaz has made its rounds through the festival circuit, playing at Lock’n, Mountain Jam, Jam Cruise, Bonnaroo and Disc Jam. The band has toured almost consistently in the last few years, and are currently embarked on a fall and winter tour.

One highlight about the band, apart from their sound and stage presence, is that they have not one, but four incredibly talented vocalists in the band. They took turns singing where each voice would fit best, and it made each song unique and enjoyable. The band also used beatboxing, vocal distortions and reverb to create psychedelic effects.

The band knew how to show the audience a good time. At one point in the show, they stopped the music and froze where they were on stage for almost 30 seconds. When they played again, the crowd went nuts. No matter where the audience was – upstairs on the balcony, downstairs in front of the stage or at the bar grabbing drinks – everyone always seemed to be enjoying the music and dancing along to the funky tunes.

The best part of the evening was certainly that the band genuinely seemed to be having the time of their lives up on stage. It’s clear they all love what they do and are good at it. They performed like a well oiled machine, always knowing when to come in and out, but it never felt predictable and contrived. Instead, it was an exciting, theatrical show where it was impossible to have a bad time.

Recommended Tunes: “On The Run,” “The Fader,” “Lift It Up,” “Bubba Slide” and “Nightswimming”

For more on the band, visit:www.turkuazband.com

For upcoming shows at Fête Music Hall, visit: www.fetemusic.com