Tuesday Artist Spotlight: Twiddle
Very few young jam bands on the touring circuit can boast the same accolades and early success as Vermont’s Twiddle. Formed at Castleton State College in the early 2000s, Mihali Savoulidis (lead vocals, guitar) often cites his band’s performance at the Fireside Cafe in Castleton, VT on January 26th, 2005 as Twiddle’s first show as an official group. 12 years later and Mihali, Ryan Dempsey (keys), Zdenek Gubb (bass) and Brook Jordan (drums) have taken the jam scene by storm, accumulating an incredibly loyal fan base sometimes called “Twiddiots” by doing something a lot of jam bands forget to do: write melodic, memorable songs. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons Twiddle’s found so much success – they write compact songs with direction, tasteful improvisation, and narrative lyrics. Too often jam bands get lost in improvisation – which to some is the cream of the crop – but to achieve immense nation-wide success you need to write songs with compelling lyrics that people can relate to and sing along to in the shower and with friends. It’s no wonder Twiddle’s new album, Plump (Chapter 1 & 2), landed on several Billboard Charts the week of its release in late April: 6# Alternative New: Artist Albums, #16 Top New: Artist Albums (Heatseekers), #31 Current: Alternative Albums, #48 Current: Rock Albums.
In an interview with AXS, keyboardist Ryan Dempsey talks about his vision for the Twiddle: “We hope the future allows us to simply continue the status quo. The community is growing and is doing more and more amazing things for each other. It’s simply magical to watch. Then to see everyone at the shows, coming together for the music, is what drives us.” This answer captures the band’s underlying message pretty effectively: be kind to one another, be happy, and have a fun time. A band’s antics on and off stage truly have an impact on the musical environment they create for their fans, and when you attend a Twiddle show you can’t help but feel that contagious sense of carefree bliss.
The band has even taken this musical and community message one step further by doing something the Grateful Dead did back in 1984 with the formation of the Rex Foundation: they founded their very own charity called the White Light Foundation to assist various charitable organizations and community causes. In the same interview with AXS, Brook Jodan tells us, “The White Light Foundation started because we realized we could do amazing things with the community around us. With our manager Kevin’s help, Steve Perlah formed an official 501C3 charity foundation. We can donate merch like beautiful posters, or concert tickets, and our fans take part in these cool raffles. It’s really fun, we call out the winners from the stage, usually before the encore so it makes for a special moment each time.” Since the inception of the Rex Foundation, the Grateful Dead and their fans have granted over $8.2 million dollars to different recipients and have taken massive strides in achieving their mission to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, and provide support to critical and necessary social services. Twiddle’s just getting started on their =sonic journey, so you can expect amazing things to come from the White Light Foundation in decades to come.
In short, Twiddle’s a really good band comprised of really good guys with a really good message, which is why we’re so happy to present their first 3-night run in Manhattan at the storied Irving Plaza. The first show on Thursday July 20th will take place on the eve of Baker’s Dozen at 7pm, and will feature fellow Vermont pysch juggernauts Madaila not only as direct support, but also as a collaborator for a special “Twidaila” set. The following two shows will take place after Phish’s first and second Baker’s Dozen shows around 11:30pm on July 21st and 22nd, the first featuring the legendary Giant Country Horns and the second seeing a special guest sit in from the prodigal 13 year-old guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. 3-day passes and single day tickets are available via Ticketmaster, the Phish After Parties Website, and CEG Presents. See you at the show!