Twiddle is only three hours into the Texas sprint of their winter tour when it becomes obvious that this show means a lot more for the locals than just a good time.

The four-piece jam is standing inside the Deep Ellum Art Company, a venue in the entertainment district of Dallas, surrounded by the intimate group of VIP’s who are there for their meet and greet and mementos. They all hug, almost as friends, with fans’ words exchanging—“I saw you with SOJA in town back in November and knew I had to come back for your show,” and, “Thank you, it means so much that you guys are here!”

The genuine sentiment of these music lovers ran in my head as I tried to rationalize why this string of shows in the south—out of the twelve years of relentless touring—mattered so much. And it hit me. Texas hasn’t ever had a strong jam band scene.

Over the years, with the spread of festivals and accessible live music, The Grateful Dead and subsequent bands have attracted a following: a loving and welcoming weed-loving community, waiting to be reunited at shows in their hometowns. More artists are becoming part of this scene, which means more fans are inspired to seek out this genre, which means it’s somebody’s responsibility to book these bands to become a home for the jam community.

And that’s exactly what John LaRue, founder of Deep Ellum Art Company, set out to do with his wife, Kari, when they built the venue from scratch in the melting pot of culture and nightlife. “Dedicated to the Creative and Native,” Art Co has been the heart of the jam world for Dallas from the very beginning (September 1, 2017), hosting a Dead tribute band on its opening night. So it was no surprise that the LaRues shared their excitement to host this tour, “Having Twiddle was dream come true!”

“We set out to give the jam scene a home it can be proud of in a space that looks and feels like a festival 365 days a year,” LaRue explains. “It’s no easy task, but it’s one we feel is very worthwhile. The vibe is of the utmost importance.”

Taking it a step further to unite the Dallas scene between show nights, LaRue started Where It’s At – Dallas Jamily, a Facebook group with a growing 2000 members and similar groups in other cities, to gather the local “Jamily” to stay informed about upcoming shows.

Performing as the opener for SOJA at the end of last year along the Texas circuit paid off for Twiddle and boosted their discussion in these online groups. Now, the guys get to fill the rooms of three venues—Deep Ellum Art Company (Dallas), Last Concert Cafe (Houston), and Antone’s (Austin)—for a fanbase that continues to grow in a not-so-jam-band state.

Twiddle knows the importance of forming personal relationships with the crowd on the road, talking with every fan possible before and after shows and teaming up with other bands in the circuit to cross-populate fans. After hearing the feedback from the previous Texas run, lead-singer and guitarist Mihai Savoulidis felt compelled to come back to town with something good, performing one-of-a-kind mash-ups of their songs and curating unique setlists for each night.

“We’ve definitely tried out a few new things on this tour, and it’s been awesome that it was received so well in Texas. The energy and response from all of those cities was amazing,” Mihali notes.

As the band continued on to play outside on a warm winter night in Houston and to a sold-out audience at the iconic Antone’s in Austin, the sentiment from Dallas resurfaced. Fans from previous nights drove out in support of a second show and familiar locals from the jam scene, connected through festivals like Waterloo, danced as friends in the crowd—all gathering under the stars and city lights to get a taste of the music that fills their souls and to spend time with their “Jamily” that makes the experience a lifestyle.

Twiddle – Winter Tour 2019 – Texas Run Recap Video

[Video: Brittany NO FOMO]

Twiddle – 1/31/19 – Full Show

[Audio: CorFit Chris]

Twiddle – 2/1/19 – Full Show

[Audio: edmund.edwards]

Twiddle – 2/2/19 – Full Show

[Audio: edmund.edwards]

Fear not if you weren’t in the Texas area, as Twiddle tour has only just begun. Their winter 2019 run includes dates up and down the west coast as well as a return to the east coast for a run in their hometown markets, including two nights at The Paramount in Rutland, VT (3/28, 3/29) to benefit The White Light Foundation‘s scholarship at Castleton University. On top of that, the band will be back at the iconic Red Rocks Ampitheatre on May 2nd with friends Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Both bands will prepare for the Red Rocks performance with a five-date co-headlining run titled “Road To Red Rocks,” which begins at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO on April 24th. For a full list of Twiddle’s upcoming dates, head to the band’s website.

You can check out photos from each stop on Twiddle’s recent Texas run below courtesy of Brittany NO FOMO.