The Music Farm
January 23, 2009
After spending much of the last year touring with the WMD’s, Keller Williams has returned to his roots with an extended solo tour to kick off 2009. His stop in Charleston proved that he is once more rolling in true K-Dub style, with a comical and complex looping extravaganza.
According to circulating rumours in the crowd, the Music Farm’s emergency sprinklers were broken, and the fire marshal would only allow 300 people into a building that usually boasts a capacity of over 900. In one sense, the meager crowd provided an up-close-and-personal Keller experience, one that was truly a treat for those lucky enough to get in through the doors. On the other hand, the show’s overall energy seemed relatively proportional to the smaller crowd.
In addition to the scant and highly personal atmosphere of the crowd, Keller’s backdrop of more than a dozen vintage guitars provided an ambiance similar to that of a retro music exhibit in some old coffee shop basement. Although this stage setup seemingly will travel with him throughout the tour, the dimly lit rustic set was perfect for the intimate setting and small crowd. It was as if each patron was casually hanging out and enjoying one another’s company as Keller showed off all his cool little tricks.
The show opened with a somewhat routine performance “Art” to warm things up as the crowd slowly began to fill in. “Freeker by the Speaker” followed and initiated that classic quirky K-Dub vibe that everyone came to see. Several other Keller originals were particular highlights, most notably “People Watching,” “Ninja of Love,” “Stupid Questions,” and “Lightning.”
The eclectic setlist also included a few trademark Dead covers such as “He’s Gone” and crowd favorite “Franklin’s Tower.” Of course no Keller show would be complete without at least one whimsical cover of a random nearly forgotten pop classic from decades past. His rendition of Huey Lewis’ “I Want a New Drug,” along with The Offspring’s “Self Esteem” were both reconstructed to fit the mold of Keller’s unmistakable signature sound. Finally, a “Best Feeling” encore with an extended looping jam was the icing on the cake.
Keller’s act is one that truly defies classification. A comic and multi-talented musician, he is an entertainer in the true sense of the word. His solo tour is scheduled to continue rigorously through the end of March, after which he is speculated to resume band-related projects with groups like the WMD’s. Catch him while you can.