As people from all walks of life figure out how to get by in the age of coronavirus, musicians are left to figure out how to adapt to a world in which live concerts are out of the question. While the self-isolation continues, we’re checking in with some of our favorite musicians to reflect on years past (both the good times and the bad), see what they’re most looking forward to once ongoing live event hiatus comes to an end, and find out what they’d like to do differently when that time comes.
For the third installment of this series, Shira Elias (vocals, Turkuaz), offers up her ‘2020 Reflections’. You can also read the second installment of the series by bassist Chris DeAngelis (Kung Fu/The Breakfast) here, and the first installment by drummer John Kimock (Mike Gordon) here.
BEST GIG STORY
Turkuaz was scheduled to play a concert at the Taos Mesa Brewery in Taos, NM a few years back and due to some van/trailer difficulties we were running extremely late for our load-in. We were going to have to do a “throw-and-go” without a proper sound check, which is always a little tense, especially for a large band like Turkuaz. But as we always do, we hustled as a team to set up the gear and were staged and ready to play just in time.
When we began the set we were all super excited to be playing music together after a long and arduous day. The sound was surprisingly great and the crowd was hyped. All of a sudden, about half way into the third song, the power in the entire town of Taos went out. No lights. No sound. It was silent for about five seconds until Mikey [Carubba], our drummer, started a beat on the drums and yelled to the horns to start a second line tune.
Before we knew it, we had a full on improvised acoustic song happening and the audience went nuts. Everyone used their phone flashlights to light the room and we all stomped and sang as hard as we could. What a beautiful moment that was. What could have been a total bummer after an already tough day turned into this amazing collective convergence to create and celebrate through adverse circumstances. I’ll never forget that show.
WORST GIG STORY
Well, if by “worst” you mean “most embarrassing,” then it would have to be a Turkuaz show a few years back at Brooklyn Bowl. It was a hometown two-night run so my fellow vocalist, Sammi Garett, and I wanted to do it up and wear a different outfit for each set. We thought a costume change at set break would really spice it up.
So it’s a sold out Saturday night, set break comes and it’s time for our costume change. Brooklyn Bowl happens to have an extremely small green room for a four-piece band, let alone a nine-piece band PLUS our crew and guests. I managed to discreetly change into my next outfit amidst all of the people, took a shot of tequila, and it was time to go back on stage.
The set begins, I’m feeling myself; I’m giving the choreography that little extra oomph, and sure enough, at the top of the second song, the clasp of my halter top busts open and I have what they call a “wardrobe malfunction.” In the excitement and chaos of the green room, I must have not properly fastened the clasp. I’m sure it was only for a second or two (although it seemed like time completely stopped), but I basically flashed a nip to 1,200 people. I bolted to the green room to fix the situation and, like a pro, was back on the mic belting it out for my next line in the song. Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.
SOMETHING YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK TO
The people in the audience. I can’t wait to feel the collective energy that only a huge crowd of real human people can give. There’s nothing like it and I pray that it happens again.
SOMETHING YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO CHANGING
My occasional lack of appreciation for being able to play live shows. Like most touring musicians, I used to have days on the road where I would be tired or wishing I could be at home. I think when we get back I won’t take it for granted the way I did before because it could all go away in an instant.
Keep an eye out for more ‘2020 Reflections’ from some of our favorite musicians in the coming weeks.