Vermont jam band Twiddle and Buffalo groove rockers Aqueous teamed up for a legendary weekend of music. Saturday March 4, not only marked Twiddle’s first two-night run at the historical venue, but also marked Aqueous’ debut. Saturday night was marked a sell out, while Sunday night ticket sales landed just under capacity.
Aqueous made the most out of their debut weekend. The band’s hometown fan base came out in full support, with many AQ fans traveling to witness the group’s first shows at the Town Ballroom. Mike Abrahamson made the five hour drive from Hudson Falls, NY and commented, “I’ve never heard a crowd that loud for the opening band. It was insanity.”
Saturday night, Aqueous opened with the fan favorite “Strange Times.” Moving forward, the set progressed to a newer tune, the recently debuted “Second Sight.” “Numbers and Facts” took a highly talked about turn, when the band switched gears midway and debuted a cover of the NWA classic “Express Yourself,” featuring bassist Evan McPhaden on vocals with Twiddle bassist Zdenek Gubb on bass duties. McPhaden took to crowd surfing before returning to the stage to conclude “Numbers and Facts” with the band. Aqueous closed out their debut set with the high energy “Don’t Do It” from their EP Best in Show.
Twiddle held nothing back on night one, instantly commanding the room with “Blunderbuss” an intense, high energy instrumental that is slated for release on the upcoming Plump – Chapter 2. Their Saturday night set was a varied list of fan favorites that spanned the band’s catalog including “Brick of Barley,” “Carter Candlestick,” “Indigo Trigger” and “Lost in the Cold.”
Twiddle also welcomed Aqueous guitarist Mike Ganzter for the Twiddle instrumental “Latin Tang.” Ganzter’s guitar work added an incredible layer of guitar harmonies. It also added an incredible layer of on-stage camaraderie. There is an evident level of musical respect and appreciation between the two bands that shines, specifically when Gantzer and Twiddle guitarist Mihali Savoulidis take the stage together.
The night concluded with Ganzter returning to the stage with McPhaden on synth. The pair sat-in with Twiddle for the Ray Parker Jr. hit “Ghostbusters.” The encore choice was inspired by a plaque in the venue, listing the site at one of Western New York’s most haunted buildings. Formerly known as the Town Casino and used as a speakeasy during Prohibition, employees of the Town Ballroom often report ghost sightings, unexplained sounds through the venue’s basement tunnels and the venue’s equipment often turning on without explanation.
Both bands used Saturday night’s momentum to launch a Sunday night burner. Aqueous came out firing, bringing a unique twist to some of their most beloved tunes. The night was kicked off with “Underlyer” and “Marty.” AQ then fired into an alternative funk version of “Eon Don” (nicknamed “Eon Ron”) before bringing on Twiddle drummer Brook Jordan for the David Bowie classic “Let’s Dance.” Vocals on the tune were handled by Aqueous drummer Rob Houk. Aqueous concluded their two-night run at the Town Ballroom with the high energy favorite “Origami.”
Longtime Buffalo fan Matt Shotwell enjoyed the band’s take on songs he’s heard at many previous shows: “Still can’t get over how they gave seemingly every song at least a slight reworking. New tempos, new licks and teases aplenty.”
Sunday night proved that Aqueous is poised to move into larger venues. Their sound is built to fill a larger space. Abrahamson summed it up best telling NYS Music, “The boys absolutely commanded the attention of the room without hiccups. The sound was perfect in my opinion. It can be hard to upscale your sound to a bigger stage but they had no problem whatsoever.”
Their incredible use of layers and depth, enhanced by Lighting Director Ryan Bress, showcased an entire stage package that hometown fans have longed to see. Bress, also went on to light Twiddle both nights to rave reviews.
Twiddle brought high energy on Sunday night. The mellow mood established by first set opener “Subconscious Prelude” was quickly turned on its ear as the band turned the Town Ballroom into a dance party fueled by “Apples>Funkytown>Apples.” Set one also contained fan favorite “Gatsby the Great” and concluded with the instrumental tune “The Catapillar.”
Set two kicked off with “Earth Mama” followed by the moody and edgy combination of “Wasabi Eruption > The Box.” The four-song set concluded with “Syncopated Healing” featuring Ganzter on a quitar solo that had fans of both band’s talking. NYS Music Photographer Tim Merrill, who was shooting at the time even noted that “Gantzers solo during syncopated had me in tears in the pit. It was beautiful.” Ganzter returned to the stage with Twiddle for a Radiohead “Karma Police” encore.
Taylor Cauwels, who traveled both nights from Rochester, summed up the feelings of a lot of fans at the conclusion of the weekend. She told NYS Music, “So thankful for this band and the medicine they provide. I leave every show with more “frends” than I came with. The amazing feelings that radiated throughout the Ballroom were almost overwhelming. My cheeks still hurt from smiling so much.”
Gantzer left the weekend feeling supported by their local fan base. “I feel a true sense of pride and admiration for our fan base at this moment in time,” he said. “Our hometown crowd really brought it (as they always do), and the weekend was full of absolute magic because of their incredible energy and excitement; it was a shared experience and one that I’ll likely never forget.”
The weekend was not only a success for Twiddle and Aqueous, but also for the Twiddle fan funded organization The White Light Foundation. The charity held its first event in Buffalo successfully raising money for two Western New York charities, Crisis Services and Going to The Dogs Rescue.
Ganzter noted that, “We also have been having THE BEST time with the twiddle boys and their awesome crew, so we’re psyched to keep this momentum going with them on and off stage!”
Twiddle and Aqueous hit the road together again and head to Keene, New Hampshire on March 17 and March 18. The two bands will also be making stops together in Stroudsburg, PA and Washington, D.C. before concluding their shows together at the Playstation Theatre in New York City on March 31 and April 1. Aqueous was also recently announced on Twiddle’s Festival Tumble Down which will be held in Burlington on July 28 and July 29.
Twiddle Setlist via uTwiddle.net
Set 1: Blunderbuss, Polluted Beauty, White Light, Brick Of Barley, Carter Candlestick
Set 2: Wildfire, Indigo Trigger, Dr. Remidi’s Melodium, Latin Tang, Lost In The Cold Encore: Ghostbusters
Show Notes:  “Latin Tang” featured Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) on guitar.  “Ghostbusters” featured Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) on guitar and Evan McPhaden (Aqueous) on bass.
Set 1: Subconscious Prelude, Apples -> Funky Town -> Apples, Gatsby The Great, Dusk ‘Til Dawn, The Catapillar
Set 2: Earth Mama, Wasabi Eruption -> The Box, Syncopated Healing Encore: Karma Police
Show Notes:  “Syncopated Healing” and “Karma Police” featured Mike Gantzer (Aqueous) on guitar.
Aqueous setlist via – aqueousband.com
Set 1: Strange Times, Second Sight, Numbers and Facts > Express Yourself1 2 3 > Numbers and Facts, Don’t Do It
Show Notes: 1NWA cover, Aqueous debut 2 Evan rapping (Last Evan rap – 2013/5/11 436 shows)3 Gubb [Twiddle] on bass, Donkey Kong theme in DDI, Post rapping Evan crowd surfed. #rockstar
Set 1: Underlyer > Marty, Eon Don > Let’s Dance1 2 > Complex Pt. I, Origami
Show Notes: 1 Rob on vocals 2 Brook Jordan [Twiddle] on drums, Let’s Dance last played 2016/8/11 67 shows