Live music at its best: TAUK

Matt Jalbert and Charlie Dolan and their band are the TAUK of the town.
Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage

Editor’s note: In the last year, TAUK, an incredibly energetic quartet from Oyster Bay, New York, has become a popular force on the West Coast. It has played twice at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, and at the High Sierra and Hangtown Music Festivals. On Wednesday, the band debuts in the Crystal Bay Casino. The Crown Room show starts at 10 p.m. Amazingly fortuitous for Tahoe music fans, there will be no cover charge. The four band members met with Tahoe Onstage at last summer’s High Sierra Music Festival to talk about the importance of live music.

The music of TAUK has been called cerebral funk. With a description like that, it’s not a surprise its players have plenty of insights about live music.

Bass player Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter and guitarist Matt Jalbert have been buddies since middle school, when they took trips to Montauk, Rhode Island, which inspired the name TAUK. Ever since high-energy drummer Issac Teel joined the band four years ago, the instrumental band has made a rapid ascent nationally and in Canada. TAUK’s live shows are so captivating its fans are appropriately dubbed “Staukers.”

Regionally, the band debuted a Lake Tahoe in 2015 when it toured with Umphrey’s McGee. It had two stirring performances at last summer’s High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy and October’s Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville.

Tahoe Onstage
Isaac Teel is an intense onstage performer.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Here are the members’ thoughts about live music:

A.C. Carter, keyboards: “Live music emits a certain energy. I understand that’s something that is subjective, but it’s also something that’s very powerful and you can’t avoid. There is a visceral feel to it. It’s very personal and I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t understand or can’t really pinpoint exactly why it feels good, what makes you connect with it. What makes Stevie Wonder resonate with a 5 year old and also someone who is 70 years old? What is it about the arrangement of those notes, those tambers, the sound that causes you to react that way? When you see it live, it’s something that is very entrancing. It gives me a lot of faith. The first time I saw a live show, I realized, I looked around the crowd and everyone was so engaged. It’s so powerful and it can be used as such a tool to promote energy and positivity and I think that’s something that is very paramount.”

Charlie Dolan, bass: “Live music is one of the oldest things we can really pull from in humanity. People have always been playing music in some form or another, bringing people together for the better. It’s a tradition that’s still going and always building on itself. It’s amazing we get to do this. It’s bringing people together for the better. It’s universal. It touches you inside and people feel that amongst each other. The more people you can have that together and be in that moment together, there is nothing more special than that. And it’s going to be that way forever, no matter where the industry is. It’s unbreakable.”

Issac Teel, drums: “Music is therapeutic. When I am sitting behind a kit, whether it’s before thousands of people or by myself, it’s therapeutic. I can put any worry that I have to the back burner and not worry about anything. There is always that association with music with people that it always brings you to a certain place of remembrance. Whether it was a certain song that got you through in life or something that was pivotable in your life, you just remember a line or a lyric or a melody. Like Charlie said, it’s going to continue forever, no matter what the industry does, says, whatever happens to it, especially live music when you get to experience people who love what they do. There is so much love that is seen and felt that is almost unexplainable.”

Matt Jalbert, guitar: “Live music gives you the opportunity to see and hear it in its purest form. Sitting in your living room or car listening to the message through your speakers can be powerful. That serves a whole other purpose, but the vibrations you’ll get from being in the same room as a drum kit or hearing someone’s voice echo, you can’t recreate that. I think people who are not going to live music are missing the picture. There’s so much to it. There’s a visual element. There’s being amongst people and the energy that that creates. It gives you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in how powerful music can be. … You might have a musician or band who you’ve loved and listened to for years and you can go see them live. The thing about seeing them perform and how they relate to their instrument in a physical way is powerful to watch, too. Watching how someone can connect with their instrument is another thing you just can’t get from recorded music.”

  • Related stories:
    Oyster Bay band is TAUK of High Sierra:  LINK
    TAUK’s cerebral funk comes to West Coast for second time: LINK

    Tahoe Onstage
    TAUK at its first appearance at the High Sierra Music Festival in July 2016.

    A.C. Carter on the keyboard.
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.


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