For the sake of the argument, let’s make two assumptions. Assumption One: You are attending the Bear Creek Arts & Music Festival this week. Assumption Two: Despite your best efforts, you have not been successful at cloning yourself.
Here is your dilemma: Which bands will you go see, and which ones will you miss?
Before we get talk about tough decisions, let me remind you of my festival mantra: be sure to check out some of the bands you know nothing about. I guarantee at least of few of them will blow you away.
Back to the Bear Creek conundrum. You look at the schedule, and you start to fret. Half a set of Band A, half of set of Band B, first half hour of Band C. It’s enough to drive us obsessive types insane (OK, even more insane).
I saw TAUK for the fourth time Saturday. A schedule conflict got us there too late to see shoeless soul, and we could hear The Fritz playing outside but wanted to secure seats inside for TAUK, due to start once The Fritz finished. I will certainly catch The Fritz at Bear Creek, because I liked what I heard (over the people inside screaming and yelling at each other – more about that later).
And for the fourth time TAUK just ripped my head straight off, although they may have melted my face first; I’m not sure. Their style of heavy instrumental rock fusion is squarely in my wheelhouse, and this show was in the close, intimate confines of the Dunedin Brewery. It’s magical when you can reach out and touch the band.
So the Friday Bear Creek dilemma (and there are others): TAUK onstage at the same time as Soulive. I’ve seen Soulive half a dozen times, and their Wanee set was the best ever for me. I’m gonna see TAUK.
Saturday’s crisis du jour: TAUK overlaps both Lettuce and the Dumpstajam. TAUK again. Call me crazy, but if you haven’t seen them yet, then I’d suggest you get your boogie shoes on down to check them out.
The Dunedin show started with their knock-out rendition of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Talk about a tune that gets everybody sucked into the vortex! What followed were two tunes from their summer CD release, Collisions, “Sweet Revenge” and “Tumbler,” with the Kill Bill theme, “Battle without Honor or Humanity,” sandwiched in between.
From there, TAUK bounced back and forth from Collisions to their previous disk, Homunculus. “Afro-tonic” is one of my favorites, and they just crushed it. Next up was another crowd favorite (and mine, too), a great mash-up medley of “Immigrant Song” and “Jungle Boogie” (and maybe a Metallica tune I don’t know?). The segue into “Jungle Boogie” is just killer.
Think power trio plus one. I’m sure I will duplicate accolades I have heaped on the band before, but I just have to believe this will be a bust-out year for the boys. They made their mark at Lockn’ and numerous other festivals, and Bear Creek will be yet another opportunity to strut their stuff in front of lots of knowledgeable funk fans.
Where to start? Bass player Charlie Dolan and Alric A.C. Carter fly a bit under the radar in terms of stage flash, but appearances in this case are extremely deceiving. Dolan’s bass is the anchor along with drummer Isaac Teel, and A.C.’s superb keyboard work is in evidence on every tune, from piano and B3 to clavinet and synthesizer. His addition makes this quartet more than the sum of its parts.
Matt Jalbert is the perfect front man for this rock-funk-fusion assault on your senses. He is a great player and fun to watch. Which leaves drummer Teel. His muscular approach to the drumkit is mesmerizing, recalling the likes of Cobham and Mouzon, powering every song forward at warp speed.
Perhaps you can tell I am totally captivated by this quartet. Try to make time to catch them (for at least part of a set) at Bear Creek, or somewhere else on the road. You can check them out at taukband.com.
A message to those noisy, screaming, hyena-laughing people:
PLEASE TALK LOUDER! I CAN STILL HEAR THE BAND!
OR NOT. (Somebody should put that on a shirt.) I recognize that part of the problem is my obsession with live music and the desire to hear ALL of it. However, I have never been able to understand why people would want to go into a bar where a band is playing and then TALK REALLY LOUD SO YOUR FRIENDS CAN HEAR YOU OVER THE BAND, even if it is (or should be) obvious that others around you are trying to listen. Maybe they need a listeners and a non-listeners section. When I am king… **SIGH**
Quoting Isaac Teel: “Music is therapy for life.” Works for me.
Great to see Katy and Robert (Serotonic), Bret (Displace manager) and Jeff (snapzalot.com). Thanks to TAUK for messaging me the setlist, after I forgot to grab one on the way out. And I love the Dunedin Brewery staff!
[SETLIST: I Want You (She’s so Heavy), Sweet Revenge, Battle Without Honor or Humanity (Kill Bill), Tumbler, Have You Seen It?, When in Doubt, Mindshift, Friction, Afro-Tonic, Immigrant Boogie Parade, Carpentino’s Rebirth, In The Basement Of The Alamo, Dusty Jacket, The Chemist, Collateral, I Might Be Wrong (Radiohead Cover)]