It’s nothing new that both Twiddle and The Werks have taken the term jam band and expanded it to further levels with their innovative sounds and multi-genre incorporation in each of their music styles. Because each sound is so unique, it’s hard to describe in words, and is best understood in the form of a live music experience. That’s why I was beyond stoked when I found out the two bands were playing a six-week double bill Twerk tour this fall around the U.S. and that Portland was on the schedule.
After seeing Twiddle’s late night set at Wakarusa this past summer, I had been itchin’ for another performance! I missed the Twiddle and The Werks set at the festival in 2014, and had heard nothing but amazing things, so I jumped at the opportunity to finally catch the two together! Let me tell you, the energy, the crowd and most importantly, the music, did NOT disappoint.
The Werks got the night started, playing a funk-uh-licious one and a half hour set of non-stop foot-stompin’, body twirlin’, booty shakin’, straight up get down music! The quartet made up of drummer Rob Chafin (drums, vocals, samples), Dino Dimitrouleas (bass, vocals), Chris Houser (guitar, vocals) and Dan Shaw (keyboards, vocals) truly create a one of a kind, unheard of sound that can make even the kids who don’t dance bust a move. Not being the most knowledgeable of The Werks’ past, highlights for me included covers of many classics, like the Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer”, a Twerk-tastic rendition of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, and the always amazing Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle”. Everyone in the crowd had a huge smile plastered on their face during the entire set. What really solidifies my love for these guys is that they have their own music festival. Yes, their own music festival. It’s called The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival and it happens every August in Thornville, Ohio near the band’s hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I had a minute to talk to the band’s tour manager, Kenny Holmes, and he informed me that the idea for a music fest came to the band while at Wakarusa years ago, which, is just so awesome to me, because Wakarusa has a very special place in my heart being the first camping festival I ever attended back in 2010. I hope to experience The Werk Out fest in the future and look forward to seeing these awesome dudes again!
Twiddle finished off the night with exceedingly amazing ninety minute set that had me dancing longer and harder than I was expecting. The energy that had built after The Werks seemed to have filled the venue with nothing but all the good feels and you could definitely feel the crowd soaring with Twiddle on a musical journey through jam-topia, where immaculate guitar shredding, funky melodies, improvised jazz and reggae inspiration blended together to create a sound that no band has created before and keeps you hankering for more. Not being too familiar with Twiddle’s songs but knowing what an experience their set at Waka was, it was truly refreshing and heart warming to hear genuine talent and passion through the deep grooves of this Vermont based quartet. To say these guys (Mihali Savoulidis: guitar, vocals, Ryan Dempsey: keyboards, vocals, Brook Jordan: drums, vocals and Zdenek Gubb: bass and vocals) are talented is an understatement. No wonder they’ve been one of the leaders in the jam band scene for almost a decade now. Cannot wait for the next time I receive the pleasure of jamming out to Twiddle again.