Turkuaz New Year’s Eve The Ball Drop 2018: Recap, Photos & Setlist

Words & Images by: Andrew Bruss

Turkuaz:12.31.18:The Palladium Worcester, MA

Turkuaz brought 2018 into a close before a yearlong audience west of Boston using a set of opening acts that that took time gaining speed but kept its foot on the gas well into the new year. The nine-person outfit erupts in 2016 opening for Dopapod in The Palladium and efficiently blew the headliner off the stage, making their return to the exact identical room as headliners this New Year’s Eve all the more appropriate.

EDM/brass/punk trio Too Many Zooz put on an incredibly entertaining performance helped by a frontman who bumped and grinded his way through the audience when demonstrating the capacity to moonwalk because he plays the baritone sax.

While 2MZ had the next slot and a bigger audience, it had been the opening set in paris_monster that literally fell the jaws of both ticket-holders and Turkuaz members alike. The duo makes a heavily textured noise drawing on ambient electronic experimentation that fuses using R&B vocals and a technically accurate implementation that feels like watching a magic show. The team ’s bassist micromanages the low end whilst concurrently engineering the digital undercurrent of the audio with what appeared to be a customized synthesizer composed of many Eurorack modules and assembled to be controlled with a mysterious triggering mechanism that he kept in a briefcase mounted atop his bass amp. As complex as that seems, it’s three-chord punk compared to the wizardry carried out by drummer/keyboardist/vocalist Josh Dion. Dion belts out tunes with a range that rivals Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon while playing drums with one hand and running his hands across a DSI MoPho using another. Lots of musicians will probably pull this off as a circus trick but Dion’s playing on both devices was elegant but far from minimalistic.


Photo by Andrew Bruss

Turkuaz took the stage half an hour before midnight, opening with “Coast To Coast” and playing just a few more tunes before gearing up to the ball drop using an ironic-yet-on stage cover of “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis. Before their group, promoters announced that attendees could receive free flutes of champagne in the pub, and as easy (and honest ) because it is to rip on Oasis, there wasn’t a person from the building who couldn’t sing alongword for word.

As the clock struck (near ) midnight, then the fire dropped, confetti sprayed, faces were sucked and the group played “Auld Lang Syne” before going into a top energy “If I Ever Fall Asleep” this highlighted how much vocalists Shira Elias and Sammi Garett contribute to the band. Their choreography includes a Motown touch that adds a component to the Turkuaz performance unmatched with their funk contemporaries. The set comes off as sexy without being siphoned that contributes to some dueling charm that amplifies the thrill of what’s already a theatrical performance by funk/jam standards. Vulfpeck may get a better bassist and the keyboard playing of The Motet’s Joey Porter is unrivaled on the funk scene although the contributions of both Garett and Elias into an already stellar outfit is what sets them apart as one of the best of the next-generation funk acts using their star on the rise.

The fellas from 2MZ came back to combine Turkuaz for a few songs before Josh Dion got behind the kit to join in on a set of Queen covers that were without a doubt the most memorable moment of the evening. So far as anthem sing-alongs proceed, “We Will Rock You” in to “We Are the Champions” is like shooting fish in a barrel and rounding things out with “Another One Bites the Dust” has been an fantastic addition as well. You’d be hard pressed to not think “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been round the bend but reunite, the more intensely manicured epic would have thrown the series ’s momentum off and this was a case where maintaining it simpler was unquestionably the perfect call.

Turkuaz’s NYE place wasn’t only a nice send off into the past year, however it was also a type of homecoming that revealed how much they’ve come over the last few decades. Not only did they return to The Palladium because the New Year’s Eve headliners, but they curated a statement which gave their bench an additional depth that enabled them to actually show off the complete might of the party-starting superpowers. Neither of the openers was anything similar to these in a musical sense but all three actions functioned together to build momentum during the course of the evening that led to an event that was much greater than any one of its components. So long as Phish is playing New York City on New Year’s Eve, Turkuaz will find it hard to grow the attendance of NYE gigs from the greater Northeast, but when The Ball Drop has been a testament to how strong a year Turkuaz needed, it left attendees with every reason to think 2019 has even more in store.

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New Year’s Countdown Video | Captured by mwhite10280


Turkuaz at The Palladium

Dec 31, 2018Worcester, MA

Coast to CoastE.Y.E. (Lookin’ Good)Make You FamousFuture 86Champagne Supernova  Auld lang syne  If I Ever Fall AsleepThe ToolbeltThe QuestionPercy Thrills, The MoondogLady Lovely20 Dollar Bill  Electric Habitat  On The RunLife In The CityWe Will Rock You  We Are the Champions  Another One Bites the Dust  Monkey FingersBallad of Castor TroyEncoreBack into NormalBubba Slide

Setlist info via setlist.fm.

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