The Mountain Times

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Rockin the Region: Vermont bands represent at Gathering of the Vibes

It's good to see a local band in an intimate setting like the Wobbly Barn, Pickle Barrel and the Clear River Tavern or even on the Hawk Inn Resort Lawn. It's also great to see that same band at a huge summer festival like the Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, CT. You can see local favorites Twiddle and the Kind Buds there July 25-28 and hear them with a rocking big sound system. They will be joined by VT favorites Strangefolk and Grace Potter. Boston native turned Killington favorite, Ryan Montbleau, will also be playing the festival. These local favorites will be playing alongside the likes of Gov't Mule, Phil Lesh and Friends, Black Crowes and a whole lot more.

Gathering of the Vibes is an annual music, arts and camping festival now in its 18th year. The Vibes has grown into a four-day festival which in addition to top Vermont bands also feature Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Roots, The Funky Meters, Blues Traveler, Galactic, Dark Star Orchestra, Max Creek, Deep Banana Blackout and Master of Ceremonies, the legendary Wavy Gravy. Vibes has become the Northeast's preeminent music festival, springing from traditions born in the Grateful Dead community.
For decades, Grateful Dead shows served as a community-building institution where followers reveled with friends both old and new. The Vibes has carried the spirit of these initial events forward by creating wholly unique musical experiences for attendees from far and wide. The folks who come to the Vibes annually to build and renew their bonds of friendship comprise the community that has affectionately become known as the "Vibe Tribe." 25,000 plus attendees will flock to the 370-acre beachfront venue, which boasts sweeping views of Long Island Sound.

A total of 40 bands playing on multiple stages plus tons of craft and food vendors and a ferris wheel round out this event. Vibes is very much about family. Last year they had over 2,000 kids under the age of 12 registered. There is an exclusive "Family Camping" area for those who might want to turn in a little earlier and tons of activities for the mini music fan. "Our 2013 line-up is a result of sorting through thousands of comments and survey responses; we hope to deliver an experience that keeps our core fans happy while remaining diverse and current," commented Ken Hayes festival founder. "It's a model and approach that works for us."

Twiddle got their start at Castleton in the fall of 2004. By their second semester, Mihali Savoulidis and Ryan Dempsey were already intertwining harmony and fantasy, birthing Twiddle staples like 'Frankenfoote' and 'Gatsby the Great'. Brook Jordan, and Billy Comstock, Twiddle's original bassist, complemented these melodies with a densely layered and exciting funk rhythm. It wasn't long before this young foursome had taken Castleton by storm. They then started branching out locally playing winter shows at the Wobbly Barn. They slowly added shows around the Northeast and composed an impressive catalog of original tunes - all before becoming upper-classmen in college. 2007 manifested Twiddle's debut release, 'The Natural Evolution of Consciousness'. This breakout album immediately showcased the band's eclectic inspirations, imaginative lyrical abilities, and superb instrumentation.

Twiddle's sophomore production, 2011's 'Somewhere on the Mountain,' is a reflection of more introspective moods, offering message oriented, uplifting songs. Anchored by the group's new bass virtuoso Zdenek Gubb, this album delves into the human spirit, speaking to our ambition, grief, and love.

Now the group has graduated but still was seeking their master's degree in festivals. They started with small festivals like Camp Coldbrook and the Friendly Gathering but now have earned that coveted master's playing the Green Vibes Stage Saturday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. They follow the legendary Bernie Worrell and Steve Kimock.

Bud and Budd or the Kind Buds as they're better known earned their master's degree in festivals while Twiddle was still in College. Hailing from Randolph, Vt. the Kind Buds have played locally at the Clear River Tavern and at Hawk Inn Resort. They first played the Vibes in 2005 and have been there every year since. They have four CD's to their credit including their last, ''Live at Bears Picnic" which was listed #8 by Relix Magazine in October 2011. Their influences include Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the sweet sounds of Motown. They are the Northeast's premiere acoustic jam duo. The Kind Buds entertain their audiences with inspiring covers and incendiary originals, trading fiery-sweet licks on a roller coaster of tension and release. What sets The Kind Buds apart from others is that this is a true duo act. Bud and Budd play off each other performing raucous wide-open jams with stunning guitar interplay. Tight vocal harmonies compliment and complete their sound. No effects of any kind are used in live performances.

The duo has opened for New Riders of the Purple Sage, Tony Trischka (with Steve Martin sitting in), Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jefferson Starship. They've also played some legendary gigs which includes a special one in the summer of 2004. Sandy Troy, author of "Captain Trips", a biography of Jerry Garcia and "One More Saturday Night" a book about the Grateful Dead, produced a documentary film about Garcia and asked The Kind Buds to open the show. Troy said of The Kind Buds. "I've seen hundreds of Dead cover bands, but these guys are the real deal, playing the sweet acoustic harmonies reminiscent of Garcia's early recordings. They are the best I've seen". You can see them perform Sunday on the Green Vibes stage at 12-noon.

The Ryan Montbleau Band who first played Killington in 2005 at the Wobbly Barn and now plays all over the world will be performing on the Main Stage Thursday at 5:45 p.m. right before the original line-up of Strangefolk at 7 p.m. Strangefolk originated at the University of Vermont in 1991. Since then, the band has released five studio albums, four live albums and one live concert DVD. The band consists of Jon Trafton (lead guitar, vocals), Erik Glockler (bass, vocals), Reid Genauer (rhythm guitar, vocals), and Luke Smith (drums). They have been a staple at the Vibes but took some time off (12 years) for other projects. The four friends are back together and playing their seamless blend of narrative lyrical content and inventive melody. Rock, folk, blues, and bluegrass influences converge to create an instantly recognizable sound, which keeps Strangefolk's listeners moving from start to finish.

Rounding out the VT connection is Grace Potter & the Nocturnals who go head to head with Twiddle on Saturday from the Main Stage. They also hail from Burlington and in 2009, this young band was on the verge of blowing up when they performed on the Vibes stage for the first time, putting out one of the most energetic and enthralling live performances the festival has ever seen. And with the release of "The Lion, The Beast, The Beat", this rock band is one of the hottest bands on the touring circuit, selling out at larger and larger venues around the world. With this musically combustible and conceptually dazzling work, this band forcefully takes its place alongside the best of its peers while building on the rich legacy of its inspirations.