On Saturday, May 30th, over 70 artists and thousands of fans came together for Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival that raised over $150,000 for artists and various charities via the comprehensive PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The 15-hour live-stream marathon featured new contributions by an array of amazing artists from around the world, though there was perhaps no band more well-represented than nine-piece power funk outfit Turkuaz. In addition to the full, five-song remote Turkuaz set, both frontman Dave Brandwein and vocalist Shira Elias delivered equally impressive solo sets of their own and bass saxophonist Josh Schwartz got in on some virtual improvisation with Everyone Orchestra. Brandwein also sat down for an interview with event host Ari Fink about how he’s spending his time in quarantine, the genius of Prince, and the recording of his various contributions to Quarantine Comes Alive. Watch Dave Brandwein’s conversation with Ari Fink below:
Quarantine Comes Alive – Dave Brandwein (Turkuaz) Interview with Ari Fink
Today, we’re rolling out a compilation of the Turkuaz, Dave Brandwein, and Shira Elias sets from Quarantine Comes Alive, giving fans a chance to relive the Turkuaz Takeover in all its glory. [Note: This block during on May 30th also included a special Dopakuaz performance featuring Brandwein backed by Dopapod. Keep an eye out for that video in the next few days.]
First, Turkuaz’s well-edited performance allows each member to deliver their respective parts for “Mister Man”, “The One and Lonely”, “Big Business”, “Digitonium”, and “Monkey Fingers” from their various home quarantine locations. Though the nine members were playing from different places, the virtual performance still managed to capture the boundless energy and excitement of a live Turkauz show—down Shira Elias and Sammi Garett‘s symmetrical choreography.
“We’re doing a quarantine set here, where everybody is in their own homes. It really is all us playing the music, it was really, really cool to do that,” Brandwein told the SiriusXM host before the set. “To play on top of each other and listening to each other, reacting, that’s something we haven’t experienced for quite a long time now. We had some fun with it—did a few extra things here and there that you’ll see. … It’s five songs, five Turkuaz songs, and these versions are just for Quarantine Comes Alive only.”
Next up is the world premiere of a new, as-yet-unnamed solo project from Dave Brandwein. As Dave explained to Ari during the pre-set interview, “I have a lot of projects that I do, but this one, in particular, is songs that I’ve been writing for the last 10… honestly, sometimes into 15 years. End of high school, beginning of college, things I was playing around with. And finally, when I built the newest studio here in the basement about three years ago, I started recording those songs. But it was so slow because of all the touring and I was kind of creeping along. I didn’t have any plans of when it was gonna get released, kinda just doing it for fun. As we discussed, with the time on my hands here, I finally decided, ‘Let’s make a record out of this.’ So, it’s an untitled project. It’s just me, solo—for now—and I actually play all the instruments in the videos for the two songs. So we cut that together but, again, it was truly made just for Quarantine Comes Alive.”
Before closing on the topic, however, Brandwein offered up a disclaimer to Turkuaz fans: “It’s not like Turkuaz, I do want to warn people. It’s very different! It’s kind of like the stuff I grew up listening to before I got into funk and that whole side of things. … I’ll let it speak for itself, but I think everyone’s gonna like it regardless. Not funk, but I’m really proud of it, so I hope everyone enjoys it.”
Dave’s hopes were met with ease when his artfully-edited, two-song set finally aired. Though it was filmed entirely by Dave’s wife/Turkuaz creative director Dani Brandwein on an iPhone in their home studio, the segment has the vibe of a much more heavily-produced creation. The first of two songs, “Looking High”, showed off Brandwein’s affinity for folk and Americana, while the incredibly catchy “Hallelujah Now” moved more toward the indie-rock end of the stylistic spectrum with its self-reflective themes and anthemic chorus. Now that we’ve gotten a taste, we couldn’t be more excited for the full project to officially arrive this fall.
Following Brandwein’s solo project debut, the Turkuaz Takeover block closes out with a Shira Elias & Friends performance. While the camera stayed trained on Shira throughout the performance, her backing band featured a slew of familiar names. The first track, “NAH”, featured a backing track performed by The Nth Power’s Nate Edgar (bass) and Nick Cassarino (guitar), Trey Anastasio Band’s James Casey (sax), TAUK’s A.C. Carter (keys), and MEGA (production). The studio version of the funky groove was recently released as the first single off of Shira’s debut solo EP, GOODS. From there, Shira enlisted the help of MEGA (drums) and The Motet keyboardist/talkbox master Joey Porter for a moving and appropriate rendition of Stevie Wonder‘s “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”.
You can revisit the full Turkuaz Takeover block below. If you enjoyed the performances, the band asks that you make a donation to progressive nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change.
Quarantine Comes Alive – Turkuaz Takeover Compilation (Sets by Turkuaz, Dave Brandwein, & Shira Elias)
[Video: Live For Live Music]
Presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with PLUS1 and Nugs.TV, Quarantine Comes Alive was conceived as a way to celebrate and support musicians, provide fans with unique musical experiences from the comfort of their couches, and raise money for comprehensive COVID-19 relief during this time of uncertainty. All funds raised from the donation-based event will be split evenly between the artists on the bill and the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund, which works directly with leading non-profit organizations like Sweet Relief, MusiCares, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, World Central Kitchen, Partners In Health, Trans Lifeline, and Backline to provide aid where it’s needed most. For more information, head here.