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Published: 2016/11/15
by Andy J. Gordon

The New Mastersounds and Turkuaz in LA

Turkuaz at Teragram Ballroom with Joe Tatton (L) and Eddie Roberts® from The New Mastersounds

Photos by Andy J. Gordon

Brooklyn’s Turkuaz is on a co-headlining cross-country Fall 2016 tour of the United States with British funk band The New Mastersounds. On November 10, the two dynamic groups took over the Teragram Ballroom in Downtown Los Angeles.

Together, the bands recently released a 7” vinyl featuring members from each group performing a cover song taken from the other artist’s catalog. While on the tour, each band takes turns opening and headlining without announcing the order in advance. The Teragram show opened with The New Mastersounds.

The British dynamos played a scorching set of throwback fusion, soul and funk music. The four-piece group, including Eddie Roberts on guitar, Simon Allen on drums, Pete Shand on bass and Joe Tatton on keyboards, was super tight throughout their performance. Roberts and Tatton took turns playing intricate solos while playing off each other’s riffs. Shand’s bass reverberated around the ballroom while Allen knocked out an infectious beat with a big grin on his face. The band’s catchy groove kept the crowd bopping for over an hour.

As the short break between sets ended, the audience in the standing-room-only venue squeezed toward the stage in anticipation of Turkuaz. That nine-piece funk powerhouse was augmented by the percussion wizardry of Snarky Puppy’s Nate Werth. The large stage at Teragram was crowded with amped-up, brilliant musicians as the Brooklyn ensemble launched into a set of high-energy tunes, most from their late 2015 release Digitonium. Guitarist Dave Brandwein handled most of the lead vocals, with supporting vocals from Sammi Garett, Shira Elias and baritone sax player Josh Schwartz. Elias took lead vocals during “Snap Your Fingers” while Chris Brouwers performed an amazing trumpet solo. Craig Brodhead played some searing guitar solos through the set, but also led a trippy segment by using a voice box attached to an electronic keyboard during “Digital Love.”

The super-tight horn arrangements were on display during “Percy Thrills the Moondog.” Greg Sanderson on tenor sax, Josh Schwartz on baritone sax and Chris Bouwers on trumpet matched dance steps as they also synchronized their horns perfectly. That tune also featured a lengthy, wild, drum-and-percussion isolation between Michaelangelo Carubba and Nate Werth.

Sammi Garett showed off her amazing pipes as she led the group on “Everyone’s a Winner.” Near the end of the set, Josh Schwartz masterfully took lead vocals for a rowdy version of Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright.” The set concluded with the frantic “Lookin’ Tough,” highlighted by a long, psychedelic guitar solo by Craig Brodhead and another drum/percussion battle jam.

The band left the stage, but Dave Brandwein promised they would be back shortly with a special treat. That turned out to be the addition of Eddie Roberts and Joe Tatton to the already crowded stage. Brandwein announced that they would play “On the Border,” a New Mastersounds song the group recorded for the 7” vinyl release.

That tune was a great choice, as it incorporated the historic soul-funk vibe that The New Mastersounds are known for, while displaying the massive modern-funk chops of Turkuaz. Brandwein, Elias and Garrett shared vocal duties while Roberts and Tatton performed tasty solos. The show ended to thunderous applause as the sweat-drenched, soulfully satisfied wall-to-wall crowd slowly filed out of the ballroom. The co-headlining show and collaboration between The New Mastersounds and Turkuaz was a funky success.

The New Mastersounds and Turkuaz
Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles, CA

The New Mastersounds
One Set: Old Man Noises, Holy Bag, Coming Up Roses, The Road to Fuji Rock, MRG, In Da, Minx, Yo Mama, Sitting on My Knees, Turn This Thing Around, Confusion, You Mess Me Up, Baby Bouncer, Make Me Proud

Turkuaz
One Set: Gremlins, Coast to Coast, Chatte Lunatique, Snap Your Fingers, Nightswimming, Murder Face, Digital Love, Percy Thrills the Moondog, Everyone’s a Winner, Bubba Slide, Feelin’ Alright, Lookin’ Tough

Encore: On The Border* *New Mastersounds song with Eddie Roberts and Joe Tatton

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