There ain’t no party like a Turkuaz dance party. The nine-piece funk band from Brooklyn by way of Boston made The Fillmore in San Francisco sweat on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019.
Following a curve through SoCal and up the San Francisco Peninsula, Turkuaz now has a few days before picking back up in Oregon on Tuesday and continuing for six days straight. Don’t expect this group to take it slow–they are unstoppable.
They opened The Fillmore with a pair of tunes from their 2015 release Digitonium: “Percy Thrills The Moondog” and the title track. A strong lead from drummer Michelangelo Carruba carried the transition from “Digitonium” into a few cuts from Life In The City.
Released in September of last year, Life In The City is Turkuaz’s 5th full-length album. For the next 15 minutes, the crowd was treated to a decent sampling of the record. “If I ever Fall Asleep” was followed by “The Question” and finally “Make You Famous” brought the music to a pause.
The intensity only continued to grow as they busted “Tiptoe Through The Cypto” from 2015’s Stereochrome EP. “Lika” really started picking up the pace and the tempo on and off the stage. Turkuaz first started bending the space-funk-time continuum during “European Festivity Nightmare”, but they cooled things down quickly.
One of their favorite covers to play in San Francisco came next, the Sly and The Family Stone hit “Babies Making Babies”. They followed it up with another SF shout out with “On The Run”. Turkuaz created “On The Run” with Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, after meeting and sitting in on a previous show at The Fillmore SF.
According to Harrison in a recent statement, “playing that night, I was impressed with the nuances they had picked up from Talking Heads and knew that they would be fun to work with.” He continued, “Their level of musicianship was inspiring.”
Although Harrison wasn’t in attendance, Turkuaz paid tribute with a rowdy cover of the Talking Heads’ tune “Slippery People” from 1983’s Speaking in Tongues. Joining the stage for the Talking Heads cover was the enigmatic frontman and the powerhouse behind opening act paris_monster, Josh Dion, assisting on percussion.
“Slippery People” fell between the sticks of Dion and Carruba, who took their time to show off and put on a rhythm clinic via drum battle. The segue into Future 86’s “Electric Habitat” gave the audience a jump start with an electric shock rock and boogie down.
By 11:44 PM, the music grew quieter, but somehow more intense with each sound. Bassist Taylor Shell took over the transition and set the pace, building it up one brick at a time. After a fake-out ending, the band continued the song for another minute.
“Life In The City”, the title track to their most recent record, followed. The song has a much deeper, slow groove than many of Turkuaz’s other high-energy bangers. At least it starts out that way, and on Saturday they accentuated the slow crawl of the intro beat, increasing the tension between notes.
The band transitioned into a nearly reggae funk for another Future 86 track, “Pickin Up (Where You Left Off)” that featured a steady spotlight on singer/saxophonist Josh Schwartz. The pace continued to climb as Turkuaz covered The Beatles’ “Get Back” and ended the last-push series of segues with “Monkeyfinger” to close the set.
Minutes later they returned with a two-song encore, beginning with the “Ballard of Castor Troy” and closing the show with “Lookin’ Tough, Feelin’ Good” – a full-fledged Turkuaz anthem from their 2011 record Zerbert.
Catch Turkuaz in Oregon and Washington as they round through the Pacific Northwest this first full week of February. Head to the band’s website for more information.
Setlist: Turkuaz | The Fillmore | San Francisco, CA | 2/2/2019
Percy Thrills The Moondog, Digitonium > If I Ever Fall Asleep, The Question, Make You Famous, Tiptoe Through Crypto, Lika, The One and Lonely, European Festivity Nightmare, Babies Makin Babies*, On The Run, Slippery People** > Electric Habitat, Life In The City > Pickin Up (Where You Left Off), > Get Back*** > Monkeyfinger
Encore: Ballad of Castor Troy, Lookin Tough, Feelin Good
*- cover, Sly & The Family Stone
**- cover, Talking Heads
***- cover, The Beatles