There were a lot of notes played at Crystal Bay Casino on Saturday night. But that’s to be expected when two jam-tastic bands take the stage by storm.
Stopping into the North Shore venue on its “Twerk Tour,” Twiddle and the Werks tore the house down with a night of inspired instrumental work, keeping an increasingly crowded Crown Room moving, shaking and stomping well into the wee hours. Sadly, there was no actual twerking, at least that I saw.
As the tour is a co-billing, rather than an opener-headliner act, the bands have been taking turns playing the first and second sets. Twiddle took the opener slot, kicking off the show in the Crown Room to a good-sized crowd. The quartet (electric guitar and bass, drums and a keyboard and synth player) got grooving right away, with a reggae-centered rock sound, which grew surprisingly heavy and aggressive at times. The sound veered out often, to straight-ahead rock, swing-step goodness, and lots of psychotic noise that defies ready description.
The guys made much of the pristine Crown Room sound system, diving into seemingly endless jams, with each instrument taking turns leaping out of the driving mix for sustained solo work. When they say they jam, these guys jam, extending instrumental breaks that ran tunes out to upwards of 15 minutes or so. Some lighthearted riffing occurred here and there, with red and green lights popping on suddenly to the unmistakable (if jam-grooved up) strains of “Jingle Bells.” At another point, they had me almost in tears with a heartfelt instrumental rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, famously the theme song of the film “Titanic.” Never let go guys.
The Werks took over for their buddies after a brief set break. Equally jam-heavy, the band had a slightly lighter sound, with less of the reggae drive of their counterparts. Guitarist Chris Houser was on a particularly lovely guitar, what appeared to be a custom Fender Jaguar (possibly a Mustang), with a beautiful dark wood-grain finish, with a Telecaster headstock. He applied the instrument liberally, tearing through wild solos and rhythmic breakdowns that ran the gamut of rock and jam sounds and styles.
Sticking largely to up-tempo, guitar-heavy rock jams, the Werks kept the audience going well past midnight. The Crown Room crowd was clearly enjoying the double set of wonderfully danceable tunes, and it became increasingly bigger and more wild as the night went on.
As the show let out, the Crystal Bay Casino floor and parking lot flooded with upbeat, happy looking concer-goers, many still with a noticeable spring and shuffle in their step as they walked out into the cold mountain air.
Given the lateness of the hour and the intensity of the fun, I imagine many concertgoers shared the perfect cap to a great concert night that I experienced the next morning; sleeping in, and awakening to the silent dance of fresh falling snow.