Keller Williams started his fall tour last night at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut. The show was opened by Connecticut local jam group Creamery Station, followed by a solo set from Keller.
Having played Toad’s Place a number of times over the past few years now, Keller was welcomed to a full house, stocked with longtime Connecticut Keller fans that were bringing the excitement before the evening even started.
In classic form, Keller started off by traversing up and down the edge of the stage, strumming his guitar in musical stream-of-consciousness style. Nobody has a tone quite like Keller, fat and rich and full of feeling, and it’ll never not work to warm up the energy of a room. This spilled into the staple opener of “Breathe,” a tune which lately Keller has been experimenting upon in different ways. This one he made fun by sandwiching in the middle a version of Weezer’s “Island In The Sun.”
Keller’s set flowed in fluid motion, linking up looped jams end to end on tunes like “More Than A Little,” “Kidney in a Cooler,” his funked-up version of “One More Saturday Night,” and his solo-bass version of “Freaker By The Speaker.” At the high point of this energized leg of the show, Keller’s own funkiness got to him, and he put his guitar down to break out in a few dance moves—and the crowd was right there with him the entire time.
Sprinkled in throughout were a couple of more comical, acoustic songs, one of which was a newer sounding tune that describes in hilarious fashion the time a pigeon defecated into the mouth of the drummer of indie rock band Kings Of Leon when he went to sing (yes, this is something that actually happened). After this, maybe the highest received of the evening was a greatly strummed, spirited mash up of “They Love Each Other” and “Cumberland Blues,” an experiment Keller has been performing this year with various Grateful Grass lineups.
Keller ended the night with one of his best written songs to date, ‘Mantra,’ the mellow groovy number that always brings a wonderful headspace. It was a much briefer version than has been played before, but Keller still had some unique fun on it by wringing out some weird fuzzy feedback into the middle of it. He came back out quickly to an audience clamoring for a bit more—folks are definitely ready for fall tour! He polled the crowd, asking if they wanted to hear “something acoustic? Something dancey?” With the latter getting the loudest cheers, Keller ended the night of his tour with a solo-drum-pad take on “Tell My Feet I Made It Home.”
Keller’s fall tour continues tonight when he plays in Boukville, New York.
Article and Photos by Miles Hurley