Twiddle and Mosses bring the funk

On Oct. 15, Twiddle and UVM student band Moses & the Electric Company established a funk/jam shelter for students and other concert-goes to escape the projected wintry mix of 32-degree weather and pounding rain. Originally designated to play in the Showcase Lounge, the show was moved to Higher Ground’s Ballroom due to sales exceeding the 350-ticket capacity of the Showcase Lounge.  “One of our best shows was at Higher Ground,” Mikey, lead vocalist of Twiddle said. “We would have to turn people away if we played in the smaller room.” Opening for the Vermont based band Twiddle, at 8:30 p.m., Mosses & the Electric Company provided a musical concoction of funky, danceable tunes — two parts old-school funk and one part new wave post-rock.  “[They’re] the funkiest band around,” according to UVM men’s club lacrosse coach Coleman Adams. “I was just looking for a place to get a Long Trail and see some live entertainment.” Mosses & The Electric Company is comprised of a throbbing bass, a fantastic keyboarder, an emotive guitarist and sick drumming. “This was actually our first gig at Higher Ground”, drummer Kyle Kelly-Yahner said. “[Keyboardist] Mike Fried, [Guitarist] Brent Cohen, [Bassist] Ross Doree and I started last year playing in the WDW complex and have been jamming since.”  As their set transgressed with tunes such as “My New Blue Tattoo” and “DMT”, the audience started to migrate away from the bar and back seats, to the front of the stage.  “To translate our music is just love makin’, booty shakin’, bacon bakin’, and Socratic discussions,” keyboardist Mike Fried said. Their set progressed for a non-stop hour that concluded with a mixture of songs weaving in and out of psychedelic tunes that somewhat resembling Carlos Santana jamming out to funky old Gameboy and Sega Gamegear tracks.  With a short intermission and a plethora of girls rushing toward the stage, it became obvious how quickly the crowd had thickened since my arrival. As the jumbo-sized digital clock backstage, mounted near the rafters, turned to 10 o’clock, a surge of energy came from the audience as Twiddle entered the stage.  The jam-heavy, progressive-rock foursome Twiddle performed more intricate, complex compositions of songs weaving in and out of improvised jams.  Only being familiar with jam bands such as Disco Biscuits, Phish and Ween, Twiddle resembles a more traditional Vermont root jam band with multiple influences from blues, jazz, reggae and pop.  “Their jams are awesome and have a lot of personality,” junior Heather Ishu said. “Most of their songs towards the end, were just teasing me.” The four members: Guitarist and vocalist Mickey, Keyboarder Ryan , Drummer Brook, and bassist Zdenek have a remarkable ability to read one another on stage. This is where they get most of their success in playing their intricate, complex compositions.  Twiddle played a number of favorites, but one of the surprises was their high-energy version of James Brown’s “Sex Machine” which broke into a beat boxing improv acapella. Despite the rain, Twiddle confirmed that this was one of their best turn outs. “It was cool, normally you can’t get that close to the band and have free room,” Zdenek said. “It was the perfect medium where people could dance and not spill beer.”  Twiddle is currently on a New England tour, traveling through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.