TAUK transcends time at Old Rock House, St. Louis

Around the Midwest, they call Missouri the ‘Show Me State’ and on October 15th at The Old Rock House in St. Louis, to the enjoyment of the many fans who tolerated the last bits of rain moving out, progressive fusion four-piece TAUK showed up in a massive way! The band is currently out blowing minds and melting faces, touring the country in promotion of their absolutely stunning new album, Chaos Companion. If you have yet to hear it for yourself, it’s a masterpiece of a record that allowed the band the rare opportunity to come off the road, slow down and focus entirely on the music, which served as the guys’ own version of a ‘chaos companion’ through a year (and some) of change that altered the course of everything we thought we knew. “Everyone’s got a chaos companion, something that keeps you grounded in the midst of all the madness,” says bassist Charlie Dolan. “Maybe it’s your spouse, maybe it’s your kids, maybe it’s your dog. For us, it was the music.” 

I had a thought about a third of the way into the pandemic… something about how this whole nightmare of a situation was going to produce at least a few positive outcomes.

One, in particular, is the unbelievable tidal wave of entertainment that was going to come crashing down on the other side of it all. Artists were, undoubtedly, going to continue to make art. Creators create — it’s kind of what they do! Remove all other forms of distractions and essentially force someone to stay home where they are probably most comfortable and most likely to create… what else would you expect, if not to get some of the most inspired art in decades? It’s a pretty safe bet to say that is exactly what happened with this new TAUK record. You can tell that Alric “AC” Carter, Matt Jalbert, Isaac Teel and Charlie Dolan took the time they were so unexpectedly given and used it to their full advantage. TAUK embraced the comforts of home in Long Island, NY, with their newly completed recording studio and started taking steps to improve their writing and stretch their musical abilities, which, in a world of freeform lyric-less music, the possibilities of where this medium can be taken seem endless. A task of such nature most definitely seems a little less daunting when your calendar, all of a sudden, becomes wide open.

These newly perfected skills not only translated into gold in the recording studio, but a live performance like no other. 

UNLEASH ISAAC! I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that this entire band is at their best right now, but Isaac Teel is on another level with his drumming. I have no problems saying this man is one of the best drummers out right now and has the swagger to make sure you believe him. Behind Isaac’s lead, this psychedelic funky jazz group effortlessly dances the line between evocative electronic tones and a pure analog sound, mixing in elements from all kinds of different genres. Next up, you see Charlie Dolan carrying the weight of the world with intense pulses coming out of those bass strings. It’s the kind of pulses you feel in the pit of your stomach. He spends the entirety of the show walking up and down the fretboard with ease. Combined with Teel, they render such a smooth and skilled rhythm section, guiding everything else around exactly where they want to take themselves and the audience, who is ever willing to follow.

Guitarist Jalbert offers up something very few bands have the ability to do — turn guitar chords into words of their own. Using those six pieces of steel, Jalbert speaks to audiences with precision that is almost unheard of nowadays. The best example would be the band’s killer version of “Brain Stew” by Green Day, where Matt was able to get the whole crowd to sing along while only using his guitar. It was pretty dope, not gonna lie. Gliding over the top of it all comes AC, doing what he does best: using his wide array of different keyboards to add a layer of tone and depth to the performance that rounds out the entire show. Carter seemingly loses his mind, sometimes while destroying it on the black and whites. Sprinkle in some epic lighting and video displays and you’ve got yourself a recipe for emotional and mental catharsis that can only come after the year and a half we all experienced together. Be sure to catch TAUK on tour now and do yourself a favor, check out Chaos Companion, available digitally as well as via pre-order for vinyl.

Photography by Thomas Semonco

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