TELLURIDE – If you aren’t already taking notice of the massive funk explosion that is coming from the revitalized Brooklyn borough right now, add the soul-powered Turkuaz to a lengthy list of tight-knit groove machines that are bursting from the New York seams. Although more late night 70s soul than hardcore tech-funk at their core, the nine piece ensemble has the ability to take the sonic energy to the top and beyond from one lick to the next. Full band pocket grooves are the norm right out of the gate, often led by contagious porno-funk basslines that would make Bootsy Collins smile wide.
Frontman Dave Brandwein has the vocal oddities and inflections that have always made David Byrne attractive, and he is often met with high-reaching female singing accompaniment that seems to be lost in the modern era. Where they aren’t paying skillful tribute to their Talking Heads influences, the audible jugglers in Turkuaz seep into tasteful Sly and the Family Stone accents – all without forgetting to keep their sound fresh and refined. They also know how to have a damn good time while doing it.
Multiple residencies at the Brooklyn Bowl proving grounds, turning heads at exclusive festivals like Bear Creek in Florida and Equifunk in Pennsylvania, and touring with a reputation of playing louder, faster and harder than their peers has made Turkuaz a larger than life circuit band that can both literally and metaphorically barely fit on the Fly Me To The Moon stage. Regardless, the movers and shakers of the Western Slope are obliged to show up en masse to see them make an attempt as they riddle off high-energy renditions of tunes from their self titled and Zerbert albums.
Turkuaz, Wed., Jan. 15, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $12
Mountain Standard Time Bring ‘Freegrass’ to the Moon
With the New Years week (and a half) of live music in the rear view, it will be Nederland’s bluegrass quintet Mountain Standard Time that break the barrier into the regularly scheduled programming of the first month in 2014. No strangers to Telluride, or to Fly Me To The Moon, where they are set to play on Friday, MST is a critically acclaimed, well practiced Colorado live music gem that has been touring extensively with the likes of Yonder Mountain String Band and Euforquestra. They are rolling off a two night New Year’s run with Tea Leaf Green and Toubab Krewe at Cervantes in Denver, and were just part of the initial lineup announcement for mega-festival Wakarusa in Arkansas.
These boys have put work into sculpting their refined acoustic-meets-keys sound, self-branded as “Rocky Mountain Freegrass,” and as with any band in this genre that finds its genesis during late night jam sessions, they have the ability to elevate their harmonious tunes with dexterous picking improvisations. Brand new songs released by guitarist Nick Dunbar (like “Down Dog”) show positive signs of even farther-reaching genre stretching that is as much Jazz as it is downright Americana. Look for them to perform a few of these lesser known cuts, in addition to fan favorites from their Sunny EP, on Friday night.
Mountain Standard Time, Fri., Jan. 10, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $10