Skip The Gym, Get A Werk Out
I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t really familiar with The Werks prior to attending this show. I had heard of them but I had barely listened to them and I had never seen them live before. Boy, was I missing out. These guys have been killing it in the jam band scene since 2005. Consisting of members Rob Chafin on drums, Chris Houser on guitar, Dan Shaw on keyboards, and Jake Goldberg on bass, The Werks creates their signature psychedelic dance rock sound. They have a big following in their home state of Ohio and they have even been hosting their own festival there for the past 9 years called “The Werk Out.” Playing alongside them at their festivals are big name artists such as Umphrey’s McGee, Papadosio, Eoto, Lettuce, Turkuaz, Lotus, and many others.
Thanks to The Werks page on phantasytour.com I was able to get the setlist. The group started out the night with a cool song called “Inside a Dream” which featured the lyric “Your dreams are calling out your name.” I liked this song a lot for its musicality as well as its inspiring message. This jam led into “Game Plan,” “OG,” and “Slab.” Even if I was an avid listener, I’m not sure if I would have noticed these song transitions. They played with such intensity and energy that it was easy to get lost in their sound, unaware that they are actually playing more than one song. To close the first set, they invited Jaden Carlson, an incredibly talented young female guitarist, to join them in playing the song “G-Funk” on stage. She spent a considerable amount of time shredding. At one point, Jaden also showcased her skills on the keyboards. It was an impressive way to close the first set!
Werkin’ Hard Or Hardly Werkin’
Set two opened with the song “Find Your Way.” Before I explain what happened, I should say that by this point I had figured out how goofy these guys are. Watching them interact on stage I noticed they were constantly smiling at each other, laughing at mistakes, and messing with the crowd in various ways. At one point, Chris started waving hello at Jake and then Rob and Dan joined in. The crowd caught on and started waving back for a moment. Funny stuff.
Anyways, part way through “Find Your Way” Dan switched instruments with Rob. While it was a humorous move, I don’t think these two practiced each other’s instruments enough. Rob fumbled on the keys and Dan kept losing rhythm on the drums. I found it ironic that the song was called “Find Your Way” because this jam definitely needed directions after getting lost due to Dan and Rob’s switch. I could tell each of them knew it was full of flubs and they looked slightly embarrassed but were still having fun. Eventually, they switched back to their appropriate spots and it became very clear that this is where they belong. I noticed how during this song and a couple others that they do a good job of bringing a jam to a climax but sometimes struggle to find a satisfying way out of it. There would be a huge amount of buildup for a slightly disappointing resolution. But I’m probably being too picky. After almost losing the audience to their disorganization, they managed to get locked back in during the next song, “Going Round.” They closed the set with “Rollin” and came back out for an encore of “Duck Farm.” Whew! That was a doozy!
Let There Be Jams
Musical mistakes and silliness aside, I really enjoyed this show. These guys have great stage chemistry and most of all, they seem to really like what they do. I can see why they have such a loyal fan base and are able to host a festival every year. Their music is fun and exciting to listen to and their shows ensure a rowdy, unpredictable experience. I would definitely see them again in the future.
The shows keep coming and I’ll keep reviewing them. Up next is the DeadPhish Orchestra at the Aggie this Thursday. I’m pumped for this show because, obviously, it’s a group that plays the music of two of my favorite bands, The Grateful Dead and Phish! Check out the links I have posted below in regards to The Werks and more information about them!
Here’s a link to The Werks “Phantasy Tour” page. I used this to reference the setlist. Phantasy Tour gets made fun of in the jam community for various reasons but it can be a good resource. It’s meant to help fans follow their favorite bands, track stats, and interact with others: https://www.phantasytour.com/bands/the-werks
The Werks Official Site: https://thewerksmusic.com/
Link to The Werks Bandcamp. You can stream all their live music and albums for FREE!: https://thewerks.bandcamp.com/
Jaden Carlson Video (Credit goes to the Jaden Carlson Band):
Stay groovy, folks!