Twiddle & Jaden Carlson Band 3.14.15

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

With a handful of friends, old and new, I ventured to Fort Collins' Aggie Theatre to indulge in another night of Twiddle. I was immediately delighted to see Jaden Carlson was the only opener. That meant Twiddle would likely play the second set that Denver could have used.

Jaden looked at home on stage, expertly dropping guitar solos and sonic waves with hints of Buckethead, Steve Vai, and several other freakish virtuosos. Her set was phenomenal, highlighted by a cover of "Listen to the Music" with all of Twiddle guesting. She and her musical allies also "Rick Rolled" us with a surprise cover of Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

When Twiddle hit the stage next, I was optimistic that we would get two sets. As the first set kicked off, the vibe seemed quite different than the previous show in Denver. The crowd, much thinner, was of a different variety. CSU students accounted for the the majority of the room, and the underage area was packed. With a slightly altered consciousness, I connected with the music heavily, and was focused on the elements that made up their sound.

First, there was the obvious... Phish. Being a four piece band from Vermont that plays heavy compositional improv rock was bound to draw that parallel. It was relevant in the sense that they approached composition and exploratory jamming in a similar way to the Phearsome Phoursome, but there was much more to it than that. The calypso rhythms and positive lyrics displayed an energy derivative of the String Cheese Incident, while their frenzied precision was more like Umphrey's McGee. But even that fell short of the whole story. Through a tune that seemed to be straight out of Moe.'s catalog, and into territory that reminded me of 311, their diversity within the realm of styles I love was vast.

I also liked the Fort Collins show a bit better because they did play more of the material I knew. My first set highlights were "Pachelbel's Canon in D" and "Doinkinbonk," the latter of which contained "Too Many Puppies" by Primus. As the band took a break, so did we, refreshing our drinks and grabbing some air. When second set began, the band slipped straight into psychedelic waters. I really enjoyed "Wasabi Eruption> The Box," which was full of energy, much like early moe. material. "Apples" with the entire Jaden Carlson Band was a rocker as well.

On my first listen, I didn't care for Mihali's voice, but it has grown on me gradually, and now I actually enjoy it quite a bit. I thought all of the musicians were well above average, and at times showed glimpses of sheer brilliance. While there was room for improvement, the margins were small. They easily followed each other through lengthy compositional passages, into jams, and out the other side with nary a snare. As the last night of a tour that had Twiddle canvassing the state over the course of two weeks, the band still seemed fresh, happy, excited, and ready for more.

With a shade over four months until their debut at iconic Red Rocks (opening for the String Cheese Incident), Twiddle seemed to be committed to their path, and a blooming community seemed to be ready to walk it with them. They had earned their way into my personal listening rotation, and I expected them to stay there for a while.

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