On April 8, multi-instrumentalist and one-man jam band Keller Williams, hosted a night of tasteful jams and brought along a fancy new group of amazing musicians to the Westcott Theater in Syracuse. Adding Gibb Droll on acoustic guitar, Rodney Holmes on Drums, and Danton Boller on the upright bass, Keller dubbed the group The KW KWahtro (fun for quatro, meaning four). For anyone who’s seen Keller play live, whether solo or with any of his collaborations, knew the evening would be filled with danceable rhythms and charming lyrics.
With no opening performers, the show kicked off shortly after 9 p.m. allowing the group time to dig in and get comfortable. As the house music faded and lights dimmed, the subtle sound of a muted acoustic guitar began to get louder and louder. Soon enough, a silhouette appeared at the back of the stage and Keller then slowly danced his way forward with the rest of the band following behind him. The audience cheered with excitement as Keller strummed his way into a funky instrumental before the rest of KWahtro joined in with a groove.
Before the crowd knew it, the piece unfolded into the popular hip-shaking “Freaker By the Speaker,” followed with a jam that led into an upbeat version of Jerry Garcia‘s “Bird Song.” Keeping the rhythm flowing, Keller slightly changed direction and began singing “Birds of a Feather” by Phish, which rocketed the energy of the room. Towards the end of the set, came an incredible jazzy drum solo from Rodney Holmes, known for his jazz influenced style. The ensemble re-emerged from the dark, strapped on their instruments and began into “Up From the Skies.”
The second set followed suit with Keller entering the stage in the same fashion. This time around, the whole band collectively began jamming into the hit song “Best Feeling,” from the album Breathe, made popular by Williams’ collaboration with The String Cheese Incident. Included in the second half was a delightful “Scarlet Begonias” featuring a “China Cat” intro, “Victory Song,” and two new singles “Mantra” and “The Drop” from Keller’s most recent release, Vape. KWahtro re-emerged from the shadows of the backstage and asked the boisterous crowd, “Would you like to hear a rockin’ cover or a rockin’ original?” With sincere acceptance for both options, the group graciously jammed out the original tune “High,” seguing into Joe Walsh‘s “Life’s Been Good” to end the evening.
Overall, these four amazingly talented musicians can surely entertain any audience in any venue simply because they know how to hold a tight groove. Judging by the response from the crowd, KWahtro is welcome in Syracuse anytime and hopefully they make their way back again in the near future.
Set one: Instrumental Intro > Freaker by the Speaker > Pets > Freaker > Bird Song > Birds of a Feather, Baby Mama, Ripped Six Pack > Cheaper by the Bale, Kiwi & Apricot, Hate, Greed, Love > Moving Sidewalk > Rodney Holmes Solo, Up From the Skies, Fuel for the Road
Set two: Best Feeling > Open-Close > The Sun & Moon’s Vagenda, China Cat Intro > Scarlet Begonias, Mantra, Apparition > Victory Song > Buena > Off Time Chorus Line > Breathe > The Drop > Breathe.
Encore: High > Life’s Been Good