SoleTurn: Orchestrating a Resurgence of Music in Buffalo!

By Sebastian Cole

In the current music scene, it is a rare group that can take the sounds of a bygone era and compose them into a modern sound that resonates with the same clarity and vigor of the past.

Enter SoleTurn.

This is the band. This is the time – 2024 – but hearing them play, as they did at the Public House on the shores of Lake Erie – it was not 2024 anymore.

It was 1975 – or 1982 – or whatever year the band wanted it to be.

The lake hasn’t changed. The Public House, an iconic eatery and music gathering spot was the same as ever, but on Saturday evening it hosted the band, the quintessence of the zeitgeist of the 70s and 80s. SoleTurn does not merely play; they orchestrate.

The packed crowd heard a resurgence of melodies they had heard before, even those in the comparatively young crowd who only imagined what the 70s and 80s were like through the music.

It was a sound fest.

The SoleTurn experience Saturday night at the Public House was an evening to be remembered.

Not just for the memories or the sound of music which could be characterized as illuminating, as incandescent.

SoleTurn turned a performance into an experience and conjured a emotional mix of maelstrom, of nostalgia, of upbeat moods and glorious recollection and creation.

But above all that – and without it none of the rest matters – is the sound. The musicianship. The lead singer Vik Bhargava, and his musicians.

Playing the songs that a whole nation loved 40 years ago and sang, as if they were hit songs right now and Vik and SoleTurn were the hitmakers.

It was like watching the 80s on stage.

But Vik, the frontman, lends more than a mere echo of memory lane.

His tenor voice, both lyrical and clean or, when the song calls for it, sonorous and robust, powerful, is a treat on its own, all by itself.

He is a conductor, if you will, into the spirit of an era, and the show is replete with iconic anthems, each note a successful passage into the past, if the foot tapping, the dancing, the singing along, and yes, the sighs and, at times, the dewy eyes in the audience are any judge.

He was singing memories, but it wasn’t no juke box. You could stream the music any day and replicate the song list, but you wouldn’t have the sound, the ambience, the men with their instruments playing it live, making it happen on the spot. This is live performance of what is not found easily anymore anywhere.

It was more than the past. It was the present and it was music. Real music. In the highest possible fidelity. Live. And musicianship.

No band is nothing without the rhythm and harmony of the sidemen.

The musicians – and count Vik with his electric guitar as a virtuoso, is Zac Michael on bass.  The bass may be the most underrated of instruments, for its low tones set the tone of every chord, which shall be named after the bass note selected and the timing of the playing of the notes form the heart of the rhythm. The bass is the bridge between the guitar and the drums, and merges them together – rhythm and harmony and Zac’s stellar performance illustrated this in an almost seamless way.

His bass carried the sound, each not crisp or fuzzy, lending new emphasis to the songs and their beat. which at times made you think at times that this song is probably played better than the original artist ever played it or at least, with a slightly different emphasis on a chord or a note than the original, it helped usher the listener to a new appreciation of the song itself and what the composers had in mind when they wrote it 50 years ago.

Zac got off the bass for one song and played an  unexpected saxophone solo introducing a sforzando moment, a melodic counterpoint that helped to show why SoleTurn is a show band not a cover band.

Zac captivated the audience with a surprise sax solo

But at the end of the day or evening as the case may be, it is the songs, the songs themselves.

“Everybody Wants To Rule the World” soared from a gentle pianissimo to  grand fortissimo, and demanded an encore, calling forth as it did an ovation from a crowd as diverse as a polyphonic choir.

The beautiful and melancholy “Don’t Dream It’s Over” descended upon the room. It was more than lyrical phrase; it was diminuendo into a tender shared experience that transcended mere applause.

The packed house at Saturday’s performance couldn’t get enough of SoleTurn’s timeless and soul inspiring style.

From the songs once recorded by Depeche Mode to Roy Orbison, and drum solos that revived the nearly lost art of the rhythm of rock.


Vik and Zac

With every performance, SoleTurn reaffirms the vivacity of live music in Buffalo, and everywhere else this group plays,

Keep your eyes—and more importantly, your ears—primed for their next appearance. SoleTurn is more than a fleeting refrain but a dominant theme, ready to captivate not just an audience in a city but are, unlike few this writer has ever seen, the very essence of live music itself.

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