Giant Flying Turtles – An Epic Musical Carpet Ride

February 6, 2018 by
Giant Flying Turtles /Ray Fontaine photo

TJ Jordan, Jim Toscano and Johnny Young / photo by Ray Fontaine

Giant Flying Turtles played a one hour set to a full house at Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side on January 27, 2018. The unseasonably warm weather brought out an eclectic audience to the cozy Manhattan venue. From punk rock baby boomers to local college students, they were all eager to hear this up and coming Brooklyn based multi-genre quartet.

During their 8 song set, the tunes varied. On “Stay Out Late”, drummer Jim Toscano’s percussion accompanied the band’s Ska style guitar strumming and punk rock vocals. “Climb the Sky,” a new song not yet pressed on any record, was more reminiscent of a Led Zeppelin sound.

Guitarist TJ Gordon /Ray Fontaine photo

TJ Gordon / photo by Ray Fontaine

Lead singer Johnny Young wore his sunglasses at night, playing the keys with Stevie Wonder slick style. Johnny lost his sight at 17, but his fingers easily found their way through psychedelic keyboard jams with TJ Jordan on guitar. Influenced by rock, bluegrass, jazz, and folk, Giant Flying Turtles brought a lot of energy and were a great jam band to go boogie down to on a Saturday night. Some of Giant Flying Turtles jazzy sound comes from the 6 string fretless bass played by Calvin Bennett, who essentially shredded an upright bass in a punk rock style.

Johnny Young and Calvin Bennett/ Ray Fontaine photo

Johnny Young and Calvin Bennett /photo by Ray Fontaine

When they released their first album, the self-titled, Giant Flying Turtles, the group was a trio of bass, keys and percussion and waited an entire year to find the perfect guitarist. TJ Jordan is a phenomenal guitarist, who made it look easy to pick his electric guitar at the speed of light during his solos. After joining the band in 2016, he rounded out their sound and the band produced their most recent album, Waltz To The World.

Giant Flying Turtles closed out the set with “Good to be Alive,” a track from the Waltz To The World album. Before starting to play, guitarist TJ said, “You’re getting one song for the price of two. We will jam out on this one. It’s good to be alive.”

You can catch the Giant Flying Turtles playing around Manhattan and Brooklyn at various venues. Until you experience them live, be sure to take a listen to Waltz To The World as well as their other recorded music.