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TAUK Welcomes Nate Werth & Snarky Puppy Horns At Brooklyn Bowl

first_imgOn May 18th, TAUK took the stage for two sets of raucous and invigorating music, featuring no shortage of sit-ins at Brooklyn Bowl. For their first number of the night, the band eschewed some of the conventional trappings of jambandery—the pleasantries were skipped at the outset, such as the traditional “How y’all feeling tonight?”, with the group launching straight into the echoing, resonant number, “The Drop”. Each new measure brought a different dazzling display of tension creation and release, and the band’s simple but elegant light show emphasized that. The song names feel like a burdensome formality impeding the band’s ripping a swathe through genres and time signatures.For “Mokuba”, the drums seemed to play far more prominently than a conventional jam band, as the group’s explosive lead guitar riffs were sometimes more window-dressing to the cacophonous, slapping, and dominant rhythm. An incendiary guitar solo burst into existence before the guitarist fell to the back of the sound, and a real dance party got underway, without the minutiae that characterized the song’s buildup.“Ratchet” was a fiery meteor of a song, instigated by a devilish bass-lead as it streaked across the listener’s consciousness. There was more metal than any other genre in the solos, throwing off heat from the tenacity of the guitarist’s thrilling licks, which was complimented fascinatingly by his more constrained approach to the song’s composed framework. During “Flashback”, the band welcomed an additional percussionist, Nate Werth of Snarky Puppy. His engagement complimented the band, padding the sound in a way that made the music feel less confrontational. The timbre and tone of his instruments seemed to open things up, and his restrained use of rain noises managed to elicit an ambient presence that the band hadn’t displayed up to that point.As the song progressed into an improvisational space, a playful repartee between the organ and guitar picked up in intensity and pace, until their conjoined crescendo became a wail, and the guitar’s solo seemed to overtake the band in one triumphant climax. As the song wrapped with its final section, the guitarist managed to take these almost nonsensical notes and then thread them into a thrilling progression.The introduction of “Square 2” felt like some sort of Michael Jackson meets Umphrey’s McGee pop diddy. The relentlessly catchy keyboard line seemed to take the lead, with a guitar resolving complex problems as it kept the rhythm. The first proper keyboard jam was exhilarating and organic, less overwhelming than his guitar counterpart until a turn to math-rock brought it to a sudden lurching change, and the end of the song slapped the listener in the face.At this point in the night, the band welcomed members of the Snarky Puppy horns, whose entrance added a bleedy psychedelia over flapping keyboard explorations. With their addition, the music became praiseful and peaceful with a recurring riff suggesting tranquility in its symmetry. When the horns were given dominion, the entire tone changed and suddenly a riffing bobbing adoration overtook the sound. The upbeat overtook the downbeat, and the venue seemed to positively shake with fans embracing the dubbier feel. The horn players seemed to bring some of the influence of Snarky Puppy, with builds and drops reminiscent of the group. Suddenly the band’s relentless complexity in their arrangements became more charming than it was intimidating as the sustained notes from the horns over those riffs seemed to level them out.After a relatively brief setbreak, TAUK returned with Nate Werth. The second percussionist added a delicate detail to the rhythm of “Mindshift”, chasing the lead like a serpent after its tail, while the guitarist seemed to emphasize the septant’s flickerings. The first song’s theme was of a latin Bossanova twang, before accelerating off like a formula one racecar and flying through the finish line, checkered flags waving.Next, with patient strokes, TAUK slowly descended into a trance reminiscent of STS9 during “Let It Ride”. The musicians’ forbearance in avoiding a ripping peak gave the song a deep sense of yearning with an exploratory bent. Led by the drummer, the band came out of that trance to the tune of dominant echoing thunder that collapsed the space they’d created. That peaceful pulsing tone was then employed as the band brought the song to a crescendoing climax.“Stepwise”, a song with Middle Eastern threads was absolutely entrancing. While the light show traced an atlas of the stars, the band summoned desert fogs over the charming backdrop and sent the audience off into the deep space of their own heads. “Times Up” reflected the band’s confidence in dealing with arcane time signatures and taking ambitious risks. The guitar’s sound almost sounded like scat singing, as the guitarist threw his notes against the drummer like Jackson Pollock painting boulders. The heavy throbbing from a bass and keys solo was followed by a screecher from the guitar brought the song to a final, roaring resolution.The song “Pitter Pattern” marked the return of Snarky Horns, and the song’s eclectic jazziness provided a great framework for them. While the keyboard player gave his tone an almost cheesy, keytar-reminiscent squishiness, the tune provided the space for him to fade to the back and let the horn players to take some serious solos for the first time. Cries of “Blow baby blow” were hurled up from the audience, instantly infatuated with the trumpet-players flapping ease and wizardry.The next tune, “Premises”, carried a real passion in its reggae throes. While its build-up pulsed and echoed with electronic influences, the horns’ tone made things feel genuine and sincere as the band progressed into its more far-off reaches. A song with more rock and roll in it than a great deal of their other work, “Jupiter” seemed to really capture how fluidly the group can shift between genres, dropping into a jazz breakdown characterized by chaos over an eminently danceable funk bassline.After a brief encore break, the band returned with a very gentle rendition of “The Spot”, which was initially almost perplexing in its anticlimactic-ness. The song doubled over on itself and picked up, thrilling with the guitarist’s tight and fiery notes. The last song of the night saw the triumphant return of the horns, as the band played its heaviest-hitting banger of the evening, “Collateral”. At times verging into almost dubstep-territory, the song seemed to bend the notion of genre almost to unrecognizability.Walking out of a TAUK show, listeners find themselves in a state of both awe and exhaustion, truly fascinated by the level of intricacy in each song and outright marveling at the group’s capacity to perform the repertoire with such ease. There is some strange magic afoot in Oyster Bay, and it has given birth to a group of the most talented musicians in the jam scene, with a taste and tone so wide-ranging and eclectic that it almost seems to defy classification. The only way to really ‘get it’ one would suppose, would be by showing up to the next gig you can catch.last_img

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