On Wednesday, October 7, Oyster Bay, NY based four-piece progressive jam band TAUK brought their unique blend of funky instrumental grooves to Grand Rapids, MI.
The Stache, located inside the front room of The Intersection in the heart of downtown, is an incredibly intimate venue for such an explosive band.
Two regional bands, Pleasant Drive out of Kalamazoo, MI and recent Grand Rapids transplant Desmond Jones kicked the evening off, each drawing a growing fanbase to the venue for a full house Wednesday evening.
Opening with “Friction” and “The Drop”, both selections off of 2014’s Collisions were a perfect start. During “Friction” guitarist Matt Jalbert broke a string while thrashing on his guitar near the end of the song, leading him to quip, “You know it’s going to be a good show when you break a string on the first song.” He was not wrong.
Tauk spent the next 30 minutes moving between selections off their latest release, the double disc live album HEADROOM: “Flashback”, “Afro-Tonic”, and the new-to-disc “Rainwalk” each got about ten minutes of attention from the band.
As they made it through each song, the palpable intensity of the experience lights up not only the face of drummer Isaac Teel, keyboardist “A.C.” Carter, bassist Charles Dolan and guitarist Matt Jalbert, but in every movement and note onstage.
No matter the tempo, there is a sense of urgency and pressure in the drum kit which makes your head bob with every downbeat. The airy nature of a segment like “Afro” > “Rainwalk” captivated and nearly hypnotized the crowd and with every drop of the beat the dancing grew more furious.
As the night went on TAUK found themselves settled neatly into the tight corner stage of The Stache, and with Halloween just around the next corner, they broke out the eerie, complex B-Side from 2013’s Homunculus: “Sunshine Harry”.
Following the release from “Sunshine Harry”’s grip, TAUK nailed a soaring cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. The crowd was enthusiastic to say the least and proved to be the “5th Man” on the team, providing guest vocals surprisingly on time, when remembered.
To close the show, TAUK dipped back twice each to Collisions and Homunculus. “Mindshift,” off the former, was treated to several special extended displays of chops from each member. Clocking in at just about 15 minutes, it featured the most jams of the evening and transitioned smoothly into fan favorite “In The Basement of The Alamo” before finishing with “When In Doubt” and “Chemist”.
“We usually walk off stage before we play an encore,” said Jalbert, one of the few times he spoke into the microphone. “But there’s nowhere to go, so we’re just going to keep playing!” Alluding to the corner where the stage is stashed.
The crowd exploded in cheers as TAUK dove head first into Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” allowing them yet another chance to sing along and guest on vocal duties. They ended the show with a massive, head-banging “Collateral”.
If there is one thing TAUK has mastered, it is interacting with the crowd solely through their powerful music; no talking necessary, ironically.
They are not a band to be missed as they continue darting around the United States through their Nov 1 appearance at Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL. They don’t play again until Jam Cruise 14, and then open for all three nights of Umphrey’s McGee’s first 3-day run at The Beacon Theater in New York City.