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"Twiddle" Concert

by Mike Wilson - 89.1 The Point
Tue, Apr 17th 2018 08:30 pm

Hailing from Vermont, the jam band Twiddle played a two day concert in the beautiful Ithaca, New York over the April 13 and 14, weekend. Twiddle formed in 2004 at Castleton State College, and has toured from Bonnaroo to Red Rocks. Known for its improvisational jams and genre-fusing rock and roll, the concert carried the energy of the incoming spring season. Ice storm or not, Western New York was ready to rock and roll.

I arrived in Ithaca Friday afternoon, after a quick and pleasant check in with my Airbnb host. I headed to State Street in Ithaca and parked in front of Sacred Root, a tea bar that features a tea made from kava root. The tea bar’s walls were covered in mandalas and artwork. Kava is an herb popular in Southeast Asia and means “intoxicating pepper.” After a brief kava ceremony, I left the psychedelic basement of Sacred Root, and turned the corner to Ithaca State Theater located on the same block.

The saying goes that “Ithaca is gorges,” and State Street in Ithaca at night is nothing less than picturesque. It was closed to vehicles and the air was right. Friendly faces flickered like the marque, and chased our collective excitement over the evening’s kick off to two nights of music. On the first night, Twiddle performed tracks from “Plump: Chapter 1” and played “Plump: Chapter 2”on during their Saturday night performance. 

If you’ve ever heard Phish play, you could expect the same style of jams from Twiddle. However, Twiddle is its own beast. With all bad members on vocals, Mihali Savoulidis on guitar, Ryan Dempsey on keyboard, Zdenek Gubb on bass, and Brook Jordan on percussion, the jams cover an array of styles that are more or less typical of jam bands, but  with a reggae lean. Gnarring guitars, thumping bass and keyboards and drums kept the music to a funky tempo. It was easy to lose yourself in the rhythm.

One track that is a must listen would be the improvisational jam mashing of Bush’s “Glcyerine,” Phish’s “Farmhouse” and Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” together in one seamless expression of rock and roll. This jam is available on YouTube, but for Friday Night’s performance, the guys added Matisyahu’s “One Day” for a truly electrifying expression of poetry through music.

Saturday night was more of the same, a wash in the electric love of rock and roll, a blessing from the musical gods — priming all of Western New York for a spring of rebirth. All in all, Twiddle was a great way to usher in the season of live music, friends, family and good times.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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