photos by Mathew Cushman
Ithaca’s The Haunt was the place to be on Friday April 11th as Jimkata and Turkuaz broke it down for the locals. Ithaca locals Jimkata has just returned from a countrywide tour that included 18 states and over 35 shows, with a few more still to go as they prepare for festival season. The band has been exponentially growing in popularity in the past few years, as they have made appearances at some of the nation’s largest festivals and venues. From the Rockies to the East Coast, Jimkata has been featured at Gathering of the Vibes, Summercamp, Catskill Chill, and most recently, opening Colorado’s SnowBall.
Since Jimkata’s formation in 2006, the band’s style and overall sound has changed immensely. The band started as a jam/rock group with meaty guitar solos and psychedelic undertones, but since then has morphed into more of an electro/indie rock band. Jimkata’s influences can easily be detected in their music, with hints of MGMT, Talking Heads, and LCD Sound System. The unique electro-rock music that the band makes has somewhat forged a new frontier for this ever-expanding genre and is constantly evolving all the time.
Opening for Jimkata was the notoriously funky band Turkuaz. For those who have never seen or heard of the group before, your ears will be pleasantly surprised. The Haunt seemed almost too small for the energy and huge sound that Turkuaz produced. The band consists of nine members, including two saxophonists, both tenor and baritone, two guitarists, bass, trumpet/keys, two vocalists, and of course a rock solid drummer to keep all that funk together.
Starting off the set was an unreleased track titled “Typa-Lika,” exemplifying the power that the group has harnessed. The distorted guitar, groovy bass line, and driving rhythm are comparable only to funk music masters such as Lettuce. Their set continued with all original songs from their three studio albums and even a few more unreleased tracks. Besides giving the crowd outstanding dancing music, Turkuaz also had a soulful side that allowed the audience to feel the music on a whole new level. Lead guitarist and vocalist Dave Brandwein, in combination with the two female vocalist/dancers sang the blues like no other, ending their set with all instrumental jam, “20 Dollar Bill.”
With the crowd sufficiently sweaty and riled up, Jimkata wasted no time making their way to the stage. In contrast to the big-bad-funk of Turkuaz, Jimkata started off with a more laid back tune, “American Cars,” combining psychedelic bass and synthesizer. Their popular songs “Lighter” and “Nightshade” followed, featuring big choruses and breakdowns, as what seemed like the entire audience bellow the lyrics “You can let it go!” The band maintained the high energy set with more songs from their two most recent studio albums, Die Digital and Feel In Light. Winding down the show, Jimkata pulled out some of its older fan favorites, going back to their roots with a couple tracks off their self-titled debut album. These songs allowed one to see the transformation the group has made from the harder rock and heavy guitar solos that Jimkata started off their career with. As to be expected, the Ithaca natives drew a huge crowd, filling The Haunt nearly to capacity with a party that will not soon be forgotten.
Turkuaz Setlist: Typa-Like, Bubba > Coast, Chatte > Lookin Tough, Rules > M’Lady > Tiptoe Thru Crypto, Murder Face > Pickin Up, 20 Dollar Bill
Jimkata Setlist: American Cars, Lighter, Nightshade > Beat the Curse, Die Digital > Legoland, Electronic Stone, Feel in Light, Feed > Daytime Fiction, Low Low, Chainstore
Encore: Intro, Release > Mind Crossing