WORDS BY CHRIS ARWADY | PHOTOS BY FASSBINDER PHOTOGRAPHY

Attention shoppers: this past Black Friday was your to get up and get down. On a twin bill juxtaposing the hard-hitting contemporary dancehall funk of and the laid-back grooves of , ’s crackled electricity. Those attending filtered in slowly as they shook off the holiday’s tryptophan overdose, but livened up quickly and filled the venue nearly to capacity by the end of ’ 90-minute set. Gaining steam throughout the night, the crowd remained through the night until the 1:30 encore, which featured members of both bands.

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Turkuaz started off the night hot and only got hotter, dazzling the audience intricate horn arrangements, 70s- synchronized dance moves, and a raucous, ass-shaking rhythm section that featured percussionist Nate Werth of alongside bassist Taylor Shell and drummer Michelangelo Carubba. The up-and-coming -based nine-piece has been billed as the leaders of a new funk revolution, alongside , , and co-headliners .

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Turkuaz is far beyond a typical funk band (if a exists) – the group is loaded with accomplished musicians led by singer-guitarist (and tonight’s birthday boy) Brandwein, who looks like my accountant but growls and purrs like a mountain lion in a turquoise blazer. Heavily influenced by both the past and present, Turkuaz’ output, including the newly-released Digitonium, incorporates elements of Sly & Stone, the , War, and Parliament-, among others. With a heavy on new tunes, plus a couple of ’s “Everyone’s A Winner,” sung by the magnetic duo of Shira Elias and Sammi Garett, and ’s take on Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright,” performed by Josh Schwartz, who put down his bari sax for a tune to nail not only Cocker’s gritty vocal, but also his idiosyncratic flailing dance moves – Turkuaz set quite a high bar for the evening.

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Not to be outdone, the took to the stage at around 11:30 and eased the crowd into a steady, simmering groove. The -based Mastersounds, a quartet of jazz stalwarts with the rhythmic flexibility and capability of the and , are elder statesmen on the neo-funk scene and widely respected throughout the industry as “musician’s musicians.” Guitarist and bandleader guided with flawless tone and technique through a review of the group’s extensive catalogue, complemented by the virtuosic Hammond B3 organ of Joe Tatton and a hard-hitting rhythm section featuring Pete Shand and Simon Allen, who are so deep in the pocket with one another that they might honestly be sharing a brain.

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Later in their set, the called up various members of Turkuaz as well as ’s own Parris Fleming of The Heard to sit in on an eclectic array of . Included among these was Shira Elias, who returned to the stage with the Turkuaz horn section to nail “Never Did I Stop Loving You,” a barnstorming Alice Clark deep cut from the early 70s that left me shaking my head in pure bliss. Josh Schwartz also took the mike on Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles,” a personal favorite of mine that kept the crowd on their feet and bouncing in time.

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Closing the all-night affair, both bands returned to the stage for a 1:30 encore, performing a pair of collaboratively-written tunes, “On The Border” and “The Rules.” The former, with a catchy call-and-response refrain, evokes “Mothership Connection”-era P-Funk, while the latter feels more like a tightly-constructed tune, down to the mid-verse stop-times and a bass line that doesn’t so much walk as it sashays up and down the neck.

All night long, both Turkuaz and the New Mastersounds rocked the , giving life and new meaning to the glittering disco ball suspended from the venue’s elegant rotunda. In an unpredictable world, these two bands are modern funk evangelists, and the people are listening.

Turkuaz
Bubba Slide
Percy Thrills the Moondog
Digitonium
Murder Face
The Mountain
M’
86
Nightswimming
Generator
Everyone’s a Winner
Gogo Mr. Dodo
Feelin’ Alright
Looking Tough, Feeling Good

New Mastersounds Setlist
Take What You Need
Flimsy Lewis
The Minx
Be Yourself
Vandy
Summercamp
Made For Pleasure
You Got It All
Burnt Back
Never Did I Stop Loving You
It Ain’t Fair But It’s Fun
Will It Go Round In Circles
Jan Jan
Spooky
One Note Brown

Encore
On The Border
The Rules


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