music / Columns

Jam Central Station: The Werks

July 30, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



It’s always fun watching bands grown and build a fanbase, and luckily Ohio and the surrounding area has been the jumping off point for plenty of great music. One of those bands that have made the leap have been The Werks. On the strength of their excellent live shows, their diverse music that fits a nice niche, and their spectacular annual Werk Out festival, The Werks have gone from Dayton locals to a true national touring force. There have been some stops and starts and certainly some struggles for the band to overcome, but they’ve come out stronger than ever and a true jam band powerhouse.

The band got their start in 2005 in Dayton as part of a contest. The band played locally for a few years and went through some lineup changes before settling on a lineup of Rob Chafin on drums, Chris Houser on guitar, as well as brothers Norman Dimitrouleas on bass and Dino Dimitrouleas on keys. The band gathered a solid following due to their ability to fuse rock and funk with some more modern electronic elements in a way that always sounded organic. With crisp melodies and great interplay between the guitar and keys, The Werks sound was easy to get into but not quite like anything else. They self-released Dig It in 2007 and Synapse in 2009 to moderate local success.

Seeing the success of band-centered local festivals, The Werks launched The Werk Out in 2010 as a way to bring their fans a full weekend of The Werks as well as some of their own favorite bands. The festival was an immediate success, drawing thousands of fans to southwest Ohio for a weekend. A repeat performance in 2011 led to more attention being paid to the band as well as the release of their self-titled 2012 album. This was the first album from the band to truly begin to make waves on a national level. The band began supporting acts like Umphrey’s McGee and playing bigger rooms throughout the midwest. The new album, coupled with the expansion of the annual Werk Out, helped put the band on the map. They began playing major jam festivals around the country, and their solid performances encouraged fans to continue to check them out.

As the band continued to grow they also faced some of the struggles that up-and-coming bands do. Norman Dimitrouleas left the band in 2014 to try to deal with addiction issues that he had been struggling with. The band was able to bring in Dan Shaw on keyboards as a replacement, and the band also began working in their own local studio on new recordings. These sessions turned into 2015’s Inside A Dream, and the band continued to grow with their lineup. Unfortunately Norman wasn’t able to beat his demons and passed away in 2016, which also led to Dino leaving the band as well. Jake Goldberg was brought on initially as a temporary fill in while Dino left the band to be with his family, eventually becoming the band’s full-time bassist.

The band carried on, releasing live sets from their Werk Out shows and another studio album in 2017. The Werk Out became a featured event for many bands and became known for exciting collaboration sets featuring members of The Werks, Dopapod, and Twiddle. These bands (along with Papadosio) have positioned themselves as a new modern wave of jam music. The Werks have continued to deepen their relationship with members of bands like Umphrey’s, STS9, and The Disco Biscuits while also blazing their own trail with their friends. The Werk Out has become the place to catch not only these bands but other great acts like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Broccoli Samurai, and The Main Squeeze.

The Werks seem destined to be one of the next bands to rise to the top of the festival scene. They have an incredible amount of talent and seem to fill a musical area that no one else can quite reach. Top that off with hosting a top-notch annual festival and you have all of the ingredients for success. It’s easy to see why The Werks continue to be a sought after band, and I expect to see that trend continue for a long time.



Violence at Phish’s Gorge show
There have been numerous reports of violent incidents from Phish’s 7/21 show at The Gorge. Reports have included a heavy presence of the nitrous mafia including some white supremacist elements as well as at least two violent attacks in the venue during the show on people of color. Authorities are still gathering information, and one of the victims has set up a Go Fund Me page for donations for his medical care. Hopefully this is a more isolated incident and not something that carries over into other Phish shows or other shows in the scene.

Primus add tour dates
Primus have already stated that this tour will be their last for a bit. However, they keep adding on to the tour, so it’s still unclear when their hiatus is actually going to start. Primus announced a run of dates ending with a pair of Colorado shows in October. We’ll see if they add any more.

September 9 – Riverside, CA – Fox Performing Arts Center
September 19 – Flagstaff, AZ – Pepsi Amphitheatre at Fort Tuthill Park
September 22 – San Antonio, TX – River City Rockfest
September 23 – Tulsa, OK – The Brady Theater
September 25 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
September 26 – Asheville, NC – Highland Brewing Company
September 28 – Biloxi, MS – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Hard Rock Live
September 30 – Louisville, KY – Louder than Life Music Festival
October 1 – Madison, WI – The Sylvee
October 3 – Davenport, IA – Adler Theatre
October 4 – Sioux Falls, SD – The District
October 5 – Deadwood, SD – Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel & Casino
October 7 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
October 8 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre

Chris Robinson Brotherhood add dates
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood added a run of dates that takes the band through October and into early November.

October 3 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Ballroom
October 5 – Holyoke, MA – Gateway City Arts
October 7 – Homer, NY – Center for the Arts of Homer
October 9 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Clyde Theatre
October 11 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
October 12 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
October 13 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
October 14 – Peoria, IL – Monarch Music Hall
October 16 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
October 18 – Chattanooga, TN – Walker Theatre
October 19 – Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
October 20 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
October 21 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall
October 23 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
October 25 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
October 26 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre
October 27 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVa
October 28 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
October 30 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
October 31 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
November 2 – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music Hall
November 3 – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music Hall
November 4 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
November 6 – Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
November 8 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre
November 9 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
November 10 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
November 11 – Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall
November 13 – Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
November 15 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall Hartford
November 16 – Norfolk, CT – Infinity Hall
November 17 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
November 18 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall

Umphrey’s McGee announce NYE in Atlanta
Umphrey’s McGee will be spending their New Years in Atlanta this year. The band will headlline 4 nights at the Tabernacle. Tickets and VIP packages are on sale now.

Yonder Mountain String Band add dates
Yonder Mountain string Band will be on the road through most of the fall. The band announced dates that run from October 17-November 18 and go through most of the Midwest and surrounding area.

October 17 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room Lounge
October 18 – Kansas City, MO – The Madrid Theatre
October 19 – Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
October 20 – Owensboro, KY – Bluegrass Museum Hall of Fame
October 21 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
October 24 – Davenport, IA – Redstone Room
October 25 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
October 28 – Live Oak, FL – Suwannee Hulaween
November 7 – New York, NY – The Bowery Ballroom
November 8 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
November 9 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
November 10 – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music Hall
November 11 – Fairfield, CT – The Warehouse FTC
November 14 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage
November 15 – Washington, DC – Union Stage
November 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Rex Theater
November 17 – Columbus, OH – A&R Music Bar
November 18 – Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation at The Intersection


July 25-29
Floyd, VA
Foster the People, The Infamous Stringdusters, Hiss Golden Messenger

Element Music Festival
July 26-29
Snug Lake Ampitheatre
British Columbia
Lotus, Spafford, Particle

Werk Out Festival
August 2-4
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
The Werks, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lettuce, Papadosio, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Twiddle, Turkuz

Summer Meltdown Festival
August 2-5
Darrington, WA
Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Beats Antique, Papadosio, Twiddle, Pimps of Joytime

August 17-19
Wellston, VA
Dawes, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Larry Keel, Steppin’ In It, Jon Stickney Trio, The Crane Wives

August 23-26
Arrington, VA
Dead & Company, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Umphrey’s McGee, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Sheryl Crow, Lettuce, George Clinton & P-Funk, Blues Traveler, Matisyahu, Spafford, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Waterloo Festival
September 7-9
Carson Creek Ranch
Austin, TX
The String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Otiel & Friends, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento

FreshGrass Festival
September 14-16
North Adams, MA
Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Indigo Girls, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steep Canyon Rangers

The Festy Experience
October 5-7
Arrington, VA
Greensky Bluegrass, Gillian Welch, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Della Mae, Fruition, Carbon Leaf, Bonnie Paine

Hillberry Music Festival
October 11-14
Railroad Earth, Trampled By Turtles, Sam Bush, Lettuce, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Split Lip Rayfield

Suwannee Hulaween
October 25-28
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
The String Cheese Incident, Jamiroquai, Odesza, The Revivalists, STS9, Lettuce, Trampled by Turtles, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Galactic, Turkuaz, The Wood Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

Hangtown Music Festival
October 25-28
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth (3 Nights), The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Trampled By Turtles, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe presents Eat a Bunch of Peaches, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Pimps of Joytime

Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, MX
The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost Light

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

Jam in the Sand
January 15-19
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, The Wailers, Green Leaf Rustlers

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Panic en la Playa Ocho
January 25-29
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!