Images & Words by: Bryan Lasky
Turkuaz :: 1.31.18 :: Cohoes Music Hall :: Cohoes, NY
If we’re being honest I have had a pretty rough start to 2018. The month of January saw a series of unfortunate events and to say I was eager to get out of the month would be an understatement. Before the month was over though, there was one more thing I had to do and I could not be happier that it was live music.
Live music can really heal the soul. It brings friends and strangers together to forget about life for a lets and lets you just focus on something great in the world. There are also certain bands in the scene that whenever you see them, you know you’re going to dance your butt off, smile and just have a good time. Turkuaz is one of those bands and for them to take me out of the month of January was a blessing in disguise. I have seen them numerous times and they continue to improve and blow away the previous time’s show. It was no different on a cold windy Wednesday at the historic Cohoes Music Hall in upstate New York’s Capital District.
The venue was built in 1874 and has the character to back it up. Supposedly haunted by Canadian singer Eva Tanguay, which the band tipped their hat to with a take on The Bar-Keys’ “Holy Ghost,” the whole evening had a special feeling to it. The show was almost sold out and the Capital District is really taking a liking to the old building. Holding roughly 500 people. the venue is a perfect fit for the area and Turkuaz’s show cemented it.
Sightlines are great no matter where you are in the venue, and with Turkuaz having nine people on stage, to be able to see everyone from any vantage point is huge. There is also ample dance room, regardless of where you are, and again with Turkuaz being on stage this was necessary, as they get you moving like few other acts can and do so for an entire two-hour set. The band is in fine form right now, having been touring so often, they are as tight as they have ever been.
Michelangelo Carubba and Taylor Shell form a two headed monster in the back, holding everything together with impeccable drumming and rhythmic bass respectively. Watching the two of them work behind the other seven members all evening was an absolute treat and a clinic in how a funk band should sound. Of course, there is a second duo in the band who do some heavy lifting in Sammi Garett and Shira Elias. The ladies do not stop moving throughout the show and their voices always soar above the tunes. Sammi and Shira shined in particular on a cover of Motown classic “Don’t Do It,” played in the style of The Band, as the crowd was driven wild by Sammi and Shira showing off what their voices can do.
The horn section of Turkuaz is a powerhouse. Their lines in “Nightswimming” and “Tiptoe Through The Crypto” just makes the funk the band is known for go to another level. I imagine the group would be a shell of itself without the horns. They add that magical piece to a band that makes a listener take notice and stop in their tracks to listen to what is going on. “On The Run,” Turkuaz’s latest single, fits right into the rest of their discography and already drives the crowd crazy with great guitar work from both Craig Brodhead and Dave Brandwein. Dave also has a signature lyric delivery, in which the minute you hear his voice, you know it’s him.
Looking around the room all night while the band threw their party of a show, it was uplifting to see most in the crowd with smiles on their face and waving their hands in the air. The community around Turkuaz is strong and only seems to continue to grow. For instance, it seemed as if everyone in the venue sang along to the fan favorite “Monkey Fingers” and gave a deafening ovation at its close to shower the band with love as they waved goodbye and left the stage.
Turkuaz came back out soon after and encored with “Back To Normal,” which features the lyrics “In the morning I will sing, In the shower 12 hours, I’m going back to normal again.” These lyrics were a perfect way to close out the beginning of 2018 as we head into the second month: a clean slate and music to fill the air to get my head back to normal. If you ever find yourself in a rut, either get to a Turkuaz show or listen to their music and you should be as good as new again.
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