Keller & The Keels 1.15.11
Words & Photos By J-man
Aggie Theatre; Ft. Collins, CO
Looper and solo artist Keller Williams joined forces with picking duo The Keels for a night of music at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado. I have seen Keller countless times over the course of the past eight years of my life. In the beginning I was a big Keller fan. I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of what Keller did as a musician. His odd chord formations along side his quirky lyrical arrangements sucked me in. Year after year I would see Keller playing the same songs, with the same chords and same antics. His loops seemed to remain unchanged as the years progressed. I slowly lost interest in Keller's projects, until I saw Keller & The Keels.
Guitar slinger and flat picking guru Larry Keel has been pleasing die hard bluegrass/string fans for years. Along side his wife Jenny on bass, they create a really full and developed sound and draw an almost cult like following. I have enjoyed just about everything that I have heard from the Keels. Initially when I heard Keller would be joined by the Keels, I grew excited by the thought of Keller having to rise to the occasion. The first time I saw him with the Keels, my theory was proven to be correct and together they achieved something special.
That cold night we arrived at The Aggie Theatre to a line down the block. We stood in line and I thought back to seeing Keller in the early part of the decade. His crowd seems to stay young as the years pass. It seemed to me that most folks were there to see Keller. A higher than usual ticket price reminded us that it was a Keller show.
We stepped into the packed theatre just as the show began. As the lights went down I became excited for what was to come. It began with Larry and Jenny getting to it on their respected instruments. Keller entered on the electronic drum pad/machine. The first jam had a lot of energy and the Fort Collins crowd was fired up. As the set list unfolded, it seemed to be one goofy song after another. I like to have fun, but for me the focus is on musicianship. Their songs began to reveal an almost universal formula. It would go intro, verse, chorus, Larry solo, verse, chorus, jam, end.
Within the first few songs I became bored, only to be rescued from boredom by Larry's guitar solo. At one point Keller sang a song about pigeons pooping on the Kings of Leon. I wondered what I was doing at the Aggie theatre. Then the moment I was hoping for, Larry played my favorite of his songs "Mountain Song". I was completely captivated. With the end of "Mountain Song" came the return of goofy folk based speedy tunes.
I turned to my party to see my reaction reflected on all of their faces. Just over an hour into the show, we exited the Aggie Theatre and wandered into the brisk Colorado night...
Check out J-man's Photo Gallery From The Show