This past weekend Vermont jam-sensation Twiddle came to Time Square’s Playstation Theater for two nights of jams, debuts, and acoustic sing-alongs. Playing three captivating sets each night, there was no shortage of Twiddle grooves. Each night the band opened up with a 35-minute long acoustic set where they performed classic Twiddle tunes in a stripped down, acoustic manner. The upcoming groove rock outfit Aqueous opened each night with their unique blend of funk and prog.
Opening up the first night with a four-song acoustic set, fans knew Twiddle was in proper form to throw down. The acoustic set started off with the classic heartfelt “Bronze Fingers,” which can be found on the band’s third album, Live. The lyrics “and though I’ve learned some things I feel as though I’m still the same 18 year old, just 23, with all the same ideas & dreams, come on now start the show” seemed particularly fitting for those of us who have been seeing Twiddle for several years now, but are still ready as ever for the next show. “Bronze Fingers” reminds us that regardless of whatever’s happened in our lives since our first Twiddle show, we can always be brought back to that familiar emotion felt at our first concert. After three more acoustic renditions of Twiddle classics, the band stepped off stage for a few minutes before the first electric set.
The Twiddle original “Earth Mama” opened up the first electric set, followed by a great rendition of “Indigo Trigger,” before the band dove into a fantastically jammed-out version of “Amydst the Myst” with some funky bass lines from Gubb and skilled shredding from Mihali. Following “Amydst the Myst” was a stellar rendition of the unique composition, “Blunderbuss.” Inviting the guest horns on stage, the band seamlessly dropped into the Twiddle sing-along anthem, “Lost in the Cold,” where the horns added a tasteful emotional texture to the lead single from PLUMP Chapter 1. Next, to the audience’s delight the band debuted a previously unperformed track, “New Sun,” which was written and sung by drummer Brook Jordan. “New Sun” has that quintessential Twiddle sound and vibe, and I’m hoping this one remains in Twiddle’s repertoire for years to come. Twiddle finally concluded the first electric set with the heart-wrenching “Hatti’s Jam > When It Rains It Pours,” which was a fitting choice given the fact it had been raining and pouring all day in New York.
“Jamflowman” opened the final set of the evening and certainly stood out as one of the night’s best jams. Highlighted by the interplay between Gubb and Mihali that worked its way to a face-melting peak, this moment of Night 1 is worth a re-listen (archived recording below). After “Jamflowman” the band brought out the horns again for Mihali’s new reggae-inspired song, “Moments.” After “Moments,” Twiddle debuted their second track of the night, titled “Orlando.” This new tune contained segments that were, sonically speaking, very different from one another. One part featured some incredibly fast bass lines by Gubb and complex riffs from the horn section, while the next segment returned to a more classic and familiar Twiddilian song structure. After debuting “Orlando” the band launched into fan-favorite “Apples,” appropriately selected for the Big Apple, and oh did Twiddle deliver a big “Apples” jam. Led by Gubb on some wild bass lines and Dempsey on the clavinet, this jam stood out as a highlight of the night next to “Jamflowman.” A great classic rendition of “Daydream Farmer” (also the name of Twiddle’s sober group) followed the wild “Apples” jam. Ending the set with a unique third debut that sounded a bit like “Twiddle Against the Machine,” the new track “Juggernaut” expressed how upset Twiddle and most of their fans are with the current state of the world. Returning for an encore, Twiddle played their own take on The Beatles’ original “Rocky Raccoon.” Twiddle turned this classic rock ballad into a characteristically funky groove complete with Gubb bass dumps, Mihali scatting, and a very danceable jam. An amazing end to a great night. Here’s the setlist and an archived recording of the show:
Set 1: (acoustic) Bronze Fingers, Five, White Light, Hattibagen McRat
Set 2: Earth Mama, Indigo Trigger, Amydst The Myst, Bluderbuss, Lost In The Cold, New Sun, Hatti’s Jam > When It Rains, It Pours
Set 3: Jamflowman, Moments, Orlando’s, Apples, Daydream Farmer, The Juggernaut Encore: Rocky Raccoon Show
Notes: This was the first of a two-night run at the Playstation Theater. Aqueous opened the show. The entire first set was performed acoustic. Aqueous opened the show.  “Lost In The Cold” featured James Casey (TAB, Lettuce) on saxophone.  “New Sun” was a debut written by Brook  “Moments” featured horns  “Orlando’s” and “The Juggernaut” were debuts written by Mihali.
During Aqueous’s set the next night, Gubb sat in with them for a cover of Paul McCartney and Wing’s “Band On the Run.” This was a nice little taste of all the sit-ins to come later that night.
Starting off the show once again with an acoustic set, Twiddle selected four more songs that seamlessly transitioned to the acoustic stylings. The standout song from the collection, undoubtably, was the well sought after “Glycerine Medley.” In this particular medley, Matisyahu’s “One Day” was added before Phish’s “Farmhouse.” The “Glycerine Medley” is always a treat, and this particular rendition was extra special.
Starting off the 3-song second set with a wildly jammed-out “Gatsby the Great” with teases of Bela Fleck’s “Big Country,” it was clear this set was going to pack some heavy jams. Inviting horn players James Casey and Enrique Sanches to the stage for “Polluted Beauty,” the band jammed this song out for over 15 minutes, with soulful textures added by the horns. To end the set, the band welcomed Mike Gantzer onto the stage for the debut of a new song, “Milk.” “Milk” has that classic Twiddle feel with its grooves, ripping guitar lines, and funky piano sections. Like “New Sun,” I’m hoping this song will stay in Twiddle’s rotation for some time.
For the final set of the weekend, Twiddle welcomed Shira Elias of Turkuaz to the stage for an unexpected cover of Jackson 5’s, “I Want You Back.” After that interesting cover, Twiddle debuted two more songs. First up was “Nicodemus Portulay,” a heavy song with some deep bass playing from Gubb, and after that “Fat Country Baby” followed, a short new country sounding song. Twiddle wrapped up the final set of the weekend with three more Twiddle classics and more guests, one being the young guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, best known for his performances in the Broadway performance of School of Rock. Taz sat in for an incredible solo during the Twiddle fan favorite “Mamunes the Faun.” Encoring with the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Shira Elias on vocals, this touching song brought the weekend to a nice soothing close. Here’s the setlist, and check out the joy on Mihali’s face as he watches Taz the prodigy ripping a memorable solo. Many thanks to Sean Hersch for the incredible photos of the show – these are some of the best live music shots I’ve seen in some time. Enjoy the rest of the photo album below the set recording.
Set 1: Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Barbeque, Subconscious Prelude, Glycerine Medley
Set 2: Gatsby The Great, Polluted Beauty, Milk
Set 3: I Want You Back, Nicodemus Portulay, Fat Country Baby, Mamunes The Faun, Be There, Latin Tang Encore: Hallelujah
Show Notes: This was the second of a two-night run at the Playstation Theater.The entire first set was performed acoutsic. Aqueous opened the show.  “Gatsby The Great” contained a “Big Country” (Bela Fleck) tease.  “Polluted Beauty” featured James Casey (TAB, Lettuce) on saxophone and Enrique Sanches on trumpet.  “Milk” was a debut and featured Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) on guitar.  “I Want You Back” featured Shira Elias (Turkuaz) on vocals  “Nicodemus Portulay” and “Fat Country Baby” were deubts.  “Mamunes The Faun” featured Brandon “Taz” Niederauer on guitar.  “Latin Tang” featured Enrique Sanches on trumpet.  “Hallelujah” featured Shira Elias (Turkuaz) on vocals.