This Tweekend brought another round of sold out Twiddle shows, and three more nights of incredible jams. Each night highlighted specific songs as vehicles for extended improvisations and for each member to delve independently in their unique styles. This trio of shows added to the sellout total to 12 of the past 13 shows, making the end of 2015 and the start of 2016 exceedingly impressive. Mihali debuted 2 brand new guitars, and didn't pick up his signature Becker Hornet throughout the weekend. The 2 DGN hollow body custom guitars were completed with mother of pearl accents on the fretboard depicting a lion and an elephant. "The Lion" is a DGN Custom Mihali Signature ETHOS edition. It's body is made of Maple Cocobolo and Wenge while "The Elephant" is a DGN Custom Mihali Signature Ethos edition made from California Redwood Maple and Wenge. "The Elephant" uses standard electronics where "The Lion" has a blaster and two series parallel switches and hand wound custom DGN paf humbuckers. Both guitars have a Mihali signature on the 12th fret. They also feature Mihali's first tattoo inlayed on the tailpiece. The two guitars feature a maple leaf inlayed on the trust rod for Mihali's wife Kellie (Mihali's wedding ring also has maple leaves engraved on it.) The beautiful works of art were a collaborative effort between Mihali Savoulidis and Dan Neefsey the owner and founder of DGN guitars. While they may look alike, their sounds are incomparable to each other and especially to the Becker Hornet. These new instruments are providing 2016 with a refreshing taste of new tone and impeccable sound.
Night 1 at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, New York, started off with a personal favorite; Atlantic Mocean. Gubb lead with the soft, fast paced funk to start, followed by highlights of melodic keys ringing through the liquid bass. Ten minutes throughout the song Mihali picked up the lead licks and transitioned into a crowd favorite: BBQ. Both Mihali and Ryan had beautiful moments within BBQ before the chorus came back. "Welcome to your bar-b-que" The crowed echo'd singing with the band before Atlantic Mocean was faded back in, ending the 25 minute intro. The crowd was filled with a high-protein diet for the next song as Brown Chicken Brown Cow got the room bouncing. My setlist notes were detailed with the quote "Gubb is doing some sick shit, what is Gubb doing right now" After Gubb's "sick shit", the band brought a completely jammed out space funk that got equally as dark as it was weird. After absolutely shredding his new guitar, Mihali rang in the chorus as the entire crowd was getting down on the floor to end the 14 minute hit. The next 12 minutes were filled with the precision of an Orderly Chaos that winded through a labyrinth of Twiddle's complex talent. The next was an absolute delight as Brook performed his song Wildfire. This jam featured an amazing keyboard solo followed by Mihali debuting the 2nd new guitar of his repertoire. Seconds after Brook finished the final chorus to Wildfire, the band's most recognizable guitar intro rang throughout the ballroom. As the notes of Jamflowman began, it sent the crowd roaring into a frenzy. With a Gubb heavy bass lead, Mick shredded his new guitar into absolute oblivion. After ripping through a refreshing Layla tease the 14 minute Jamflowman came back for the concluding slow reggae style chrous. The next song was definitely my favorite jam of the night. I noted "The best Cabbage Face ever.. totally different funky disgusting song". The chorus and verses were standard holding no hint of the depth in the jams to come. The jam started off very light with a nice build up and progression of Mihali ripping arpeggiated notes scaling up and down the neck of his guitar. The sound moved into a deep funk lead by Zdenek hand in hand with Norbert. Gubb sent wave after wave of deep liquid bass while discombobulated spacey keys added to the massive jam. The weird and dark improv left even the most hardcore fan forgetting what song they were listening to. 15 minutes felt like a half hour, but soon Cabbage Face was over and the band was ringing in the calming strums of White Light. White Light featured a beautiful climbing melody that merged into Pachelbel's Canon in D. It went from a standard tune into a storm of amazing improv while Mihali continued to bend strings and absolutely slay his new guitar. The 18 minute white light closed the night properly, and left the crowd in awe. The band exited the stage as a flurry of woo's, encore chants, and whistles flew across the room. Fans passionately chatted, deciding what the encore song would be. Not before long the band came out and Ryan's classical piano poured off the stage with a rare but familiar tune. Twiddle played Mad World as their encore, leaving everyone ready for the next 2 massive shows ahead.
The anticipation for the night 2 show at Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, New York was peaking as 1,300 tickets completely sold out hours before the doors were even open. This was my hometown show, with Formula 5,our favorite local Jam-funk band opening the night. Formula 5's set was highlighted by an Earthbound Tim sandwich. Their original track Earthbound Tim both opened and closed their set, with incredible filling in between. The band teased Tweezer, Harry Hood, and Manteca teases by Phish. But the really special part of the Formula 5 set was the Twiddle Apple's tease inside of F5's original track Pedro. F5's original track Epiphany also highlighted a Jamflowman tease that satisfied both Twiddle Fam and Formula 5'ers alike. While I was soliciting Twiddle frends to Join the Formula 5 email- list, Twiddle was setting up to melt faces. The night before in Buffalo had featured a 25 minute opener sandwich of Atlantic Mocean > BBQ > Atlantic Mocean.. But what would happen tonight? In moments the band entered the stage, and the subtle tweet's of birds flew about the air. Gatsby The Great! The band belted out the crowd favorite, and after about 7 minutes everyone was in for a huge surprise; The Frendly Horns were in Clifton Park and a lovely Trumpet solo to add to Twiddle's funk. The jam was extended by Norbert's soft keys which allowed Mihali to pick up a tender melody. Soon the powerfully driven structure of Gatsby bled through the improv and the band finished their 28 minutes of ducking madness! The crowd was still yelling as Mihali thanked the everyone for coming out and he asked for another round of applause for Formula 5. Next the opening doodles of Honeyburst overflowed into the room. Supported by the Frendly Horns once again, the lyrically packed funk jam allowed the crowd to breathe for a minute as Mihali gently sang "So take a trip on down with me my frend". After the first chorus featured a mind bending Piano solo by Dempsey that was preceded by a phish-like rambled buildup including support by the frendly horns. The Honeyburst coincidentally lasted for 7:10. As the Frendly Horns exited the stage, the band got in their stance to bring the heat. "Hello, again frends. Happy weekend.. Happy friday. We're really happy that you're here.. now lets have some fun" Brook said as the subtle intro of Brick of Barley was teased by both Ryan and Mihali. As soon as Zdenek picked up the rhythm, it was clear these notes were more than just a tease. It took 2 minutes before the actual structure of the song even formed, completing the playful intro. 5 minutes into the song, the band went quiet as Brook began a drum solo that nearly ruptured internal organs. DJBJ's unique drum style replenished the room with bouncing energy, and sent the concert hall into an mob of cheering. The linear correlation of time must have been briefly bent, because the 4 minute drum solo seemed like it was an hour long, but soon the full band was back in the jam. Gubb influenced the funk with his bass lines, and Mickey did not disappoint. As his filthy funk resounded throughout the room, a very familiar lick got the crowd raging. Mihali jammed loop of Shakedown Street before coordinating the band to finish the 18 minute Brick of Barley with high energy! "Lets bring the horn's back over here" Mick said as Ryan teased 1000 Miles, like usual. Brook initiated the song, hit his sticks together, and started a horn-filled Polluted Beauty. The horns graciously complimented the band with a constant background melody like in Twiddle's new album, Plump Ch. 1. Mihali led the jam showcasing the ranges of sound on his new guitar. It went from light and open to distorted and heavy bringing the entire band into a beautiful polluted descent of peaking jamage. At the turn of the jam corner, and with the flick of a switch he changed his tone into a once again soft sound, teasing an upbeat version of Drummer Boy. Polluted Beauty ended it's 17 minutes of light/ dark jamming and Ryan Dempsey keyed in the classical styled intro to Classical Gas with beautiful rendition. Mihali soon followed, along with the consistent timing of DJBJ's robot reflexes. Classical Gas provides a beautiful intro following the song structure (Originally written by Mason Williams), but it really allows the band to emphasize their talent with how they fill it out. This Gas became extremely spacey through the middle during Ryan's X-Files tease, giving me the chills. The 9 minute of the cover song ended and Brook wished our great frend Michael Fusco a happy birthday! The distorted intro of Frankenfoote crept out of "The Lion" accompanied by The Frendly Horns. One of my favorite parts of Frankenfoote is when the band has 4 part to highlight individually the keys, the guitar, the bass, and finally the drums before sending the crowd on the journey of Franky. After the first verse and chorus, Dr. Norbert had a chance to woo the crowd with the most tender piano moment; a jazzy dance over the ivories. The next song was another favorite of mine, Be There. "Yeah I know that things are getting better, I'm just waiting for a change in the weather" the crowd sung in unison with the band. The 6 minute Be There was a lyrically thrilling song, but did not expand entirely. The final song of the night was a Complacent Race with The Frendly Horns. The horns are always a perfect addition, adding a new flavor and reminding fans of the fabulous studio recordings off their new album. Twiddle encored with Did You Ever Look So Nice, dedicated to Mihali's wife, Kellie, who was in attendance at the show. During this jam, Lowell from Lucid sat in on washboard and added some amazing extra percussion.
3rd day? Not that bad. Irving Plaza, NYC was sold out days before the event. Band manager, Kevin Rondeau, had announced that the New York City show would hold an important announcement as well. There were a slew of songs that had not been played the entire tour, and were in high demand from the fans. Tiberius, The Box, Beehop, and Wasabi Eruption conversations were buzzing on iTwiddle and stream chats, but would tonight be the night? Teddy Midnight, a Brooklyn based Jam band opened the sold out show. Twiddle opened the night with Amydst the Myst. Recently the band has been taking this song on a roller coaster of highly talented improvisations, and the crowd's excitement was high. Mihali lead the first part of the jam, shredding his new custom DNG guitar once again. Soon Ryan was in the mix adding some dark- styled keys. The Frendly Horns came into the mix during the jam to spice up the night. An extensive Amydst the Myst ended after 19 intense minutes. "Happy Saturday" Said Brook, as the tempo jumped and the quick intro to Beehop buzzed about the plaza. The 13 minute funk-filled Beehop was steady, upbeat, and precise. Twiddle has absolutely started to perfect their talent of bringing out the funk within their songs, and everybody knows what i'm talkin about when I say that Gubb can heavily influence the amount of funk in a song. That was affirmed in the next song, Indigo Trigger. The band did an impeccable job at building the tension of the song before releasing the funk over and over. The highlight of the song was in Gubb's performance. Hatti's Jam > When It Rains It Pours was an emotional performance, giving the venue a beautiful somber moment. Frends and Famly interlocked hands and arms as the entire crowd sang the length of Hatti's am. The entirety of the crowd continued to not miss a word throughout WIRIP, singing every single verse as one. Norbert provided a classical piano solo that was heavily applauded by the fans. The band surprised everyone by stating that this next song would close their first set, but to stick around because they were going to play another set! Hattibagen McRat was performed, and as the lyrics "The crowds at first were thin and few but soon the crowds filled up and grew , We sold out every show we showed up to" rang out, the entire crowd started appropriately roaring. The second set started with Syncopated Healing, giving the crowd to get their woo's out during the guitar breakdown in the chorus. The horns came out for the next song, as well as a mini-hendrix; a 12 year old guitar player named Brandon "Taz" Niederauer. Lost in The Cold, a recent fan favorite, got the crowd going once again. The horns were a perfect compliment throughout the song, but the highlight was the mind blowing solo by the 12 year old prodigy. My heart started racing as the intro to Wasabi Eruption began. The band performed a perfect 8 minute instrumental that transitioned flawlessly into The Box. This jam started very Gubb heavy dropping a deeply filtered bass guitar part with Mihali playfully tagging along. Soon another spacelike jam ensued lead by phenomenal piano arpeggios by Norbert. Precision guitar and keys danced hand in hand, getting intense and dark but changing to heavy and melodic. Mihali shredded another solo before ending the 25 minute Wasabi Box. The set ended with a courageous tale of a brave knight named Tiberius. The band delved into a brief funk jam between the first and second verse. Eventually the jam turned to a piano heavy funk supported by gubb with a staccato guitar lick into the final chorus. "TIBERIUS! ARE YOU SERIOUS?" Mihali belted, before thanking the crowd and leaving the stage. Twiddle encored with Collective Pulse; a brand new song that had only been heard off of Mihali's facebook page. The song was written by Mihali, and inspired by the fanbase and the positivity within our community. It was an amazing surprise to hear Collective Pulse close the night. But what was the huge announcement? Twiddle would be Headlining The Capitol Theatre on May 7th with Tauk! THE CAPITOL THEATRE, Where The Grateful Dead performed in the 70s. Where Phish has played.. truly an iconic announcement.
The 3 shows this weekend mark an unprecedented achievement for Twiddle. The band is growing into larger venues, and it isn't even taking a year to fully sell them out. At the end of each of these 3 shows, Zdenek announced the Burlington, Vermont- Twiddle Tumbledown Festival. Last year, Moe and Twiddle headlined the Waterfront in Burlington for 2 days of amazing music and outdoor fun. This year, July 29th and 30th, Twiddle will headline two days on the Waterfront for 4 Sets! These shows will also be in coordination with Twiddle's Charity Organization; White Light Foundation. More details will be announced soon, but these shows will be unmissable!
I spoke with Ryan and Mihali after their shows, and after they had a little downtime. I was looking to see if they had anything to say about this past weekend, or for their fans in general. Ryan said:
"Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes seeing what an amazing family we have in the twiddle community, where fans and Frends can come together and share the joy with us on stage. To every soul out there, much love and thanks to you all. -LOVE NORB"
Mihali gave me a much needed schooling on his beautiful new guitars. If you want a DGN Custom Mihali Signature ETHOS series hollow body guitar.. Contact DGN Guitar! More importantly he noted how surprised and honored he was for his former guitar instructor, Steve Girardi, to have came to the Irving Plaza show. Steve was the only private instructor Mihali has ever used, and is extremely grateful for what Steve has done for his skill. Mihali also noted that Steve was Hattie's neighbor at the time they played music together, and was glad he got to experience the Hattie filled setlist. Hattie's sister and husband were also in attendance.
2016 is a huge year for Twiddle. And as a fan, you have just as much to do with their success as the band. Tell your frends about Twiddle. Bring new frends to Twiddle shows and lets help this band grow to the size they deserve. The summer is going to showcase so much for Twiddle. From Burlington to a 2nd time out at Redrocks. Twiddle deserves everything they are achieving. Thank you to the band, thank you to the management, and thank you so much to my fellow frends and fans.