As Friday started, all I could think about was what lay in store for us in this evening to come. Getting downtown, we got to the TralfMusic Hallin Buffalo, NYjust before 8pm. While we were waiting to get in, Keller Williams had taken the stage. Keller is an amazing multi-instrumentalist from the Fredericksburg, VAarea that truly takes you to another place. Although some of his song titles and lyrics have a comical annotation, do not let that fool you. This guy is a master of his craft and can truly create some magic onstage. The stage was set up with a smorgasbord of gear, including 3 guitars, a bass, a Theremin, a drum pad and sampler, as well as an assortment of other bells and whistles.
As Keller started his first set, people started flooding in to this Sold Out night of music. A great jam that leads into “Turtle in the Front Row” initiated the night’s festivities, surrounding us with a great vibe and a feeling of tranquility. An amazing version of “Breathe” was next in the mix. About half through this tune KDub, as his fans call him, took us for a journey through an Indian style jam that he not only danced and saluted the sky to, but also brought out numerous chimes, bells etc. that he looped to have it continuously play while he added more layers. After taking us on this jaunt he came back into “Breathe” and finished with the crowd in awe. We were all then greeted with a familiar tune, “Sugaree” from the Grateful Dead, that Keller new the audience would love, and that we did. With everyone singing along, we all had smiles on our faces knowing that this was going to be a night to remember. Having had some issues with his guitar, Williams looped a small sample while scatting and tuning his guitar all at the same time, not an easy feat! Again showing us why he has become such an influential musician within this jam scene we all know and love. Later in the set we were treated to a nice stick of the “Juicy Fruit Theme Song.” This is something I love about this music, little jingles or riffs that some may never think to use live, and here we were.
“Funk de Funk” took shape and took on like a fever, a funky sort of fever which could make anyone a believer. After another song Keller took control of “Uncle Disney,” a song that was written with The Keels, this song is about a time in the future when they unthaw Walt Disney and fingers will be pointed with over 40 years of decisions made. Describing Americaas a giant theme park, with us that are “toons” will end up being just fine! Although this song is quite comical, the lyrical scheme is just phenomenal. “Doobie in My Pocket” was on deck which describes a time in which Keller had a joint that he placed in his pocket as he went to the airport. The story goes on to describe an onslaught of ideas to where this doobie may now be. Thinking he forgot it in his bag and wondering if someone from the TSAor a police officer may take it and give it to a Jamaican guy at the Starbucks for a coffee. The song ends with him realizing he is still wearing the shirt in which the doobie is. After another song the set was coming to an end. Another Grateful Dead cover was in line, “Till’ The Morning Comes,” and it was a beautiful one, interlaced with a stellar jam and vocal segment. The set had ended, and we all couldn’t wait to see what the second set had in store.
Set two has started, Keller started to tell a story about how this first song is about a dream he had being on The Price Is Right TV show. “Bob Rules” was then started which again has some very interesting lyrics in which Keller makes it to the showcase showdown, even after getting booed for not being able to spin the wheel around a full rotation on his first try. Trying again, he landed on 95cents and ends up going head to head with a marine in the showcase. He then wakes up realizing he was just dreaming and thinking about actually being on the show. During the middle of the song we were treated to a cover of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” A few notes were started and the Crowd went CRAZY!!!!!! “Gate Crashers Suck” had commenced, this song tells about the Grateful Dead’s show at Deer Creek in Indiana in which fans tore the fence down to get in to the show. In turn, the band cancelled the next show. Keller talks about how he had been to every show there since 89′ and how pissed he was that these people could do this to his “Indiana Vacation.” The song usually ends with a very strong message to these people, but on this night KDub changed it around by first saying, “Actually, it’s ok, I am over it, I finally forgive them.” With the crowd erupting, Keller then said, “Nah Never mind,” and we all sang the refrain. With all of us on the same page, we were then graced with yet another Grateful Dead song “Shakedown Street.” This was the first time I have seen Keller do this one solo. It was an amazing take on the song, which included a very well played jam that led back into the last verse and outro.
Another few songs have passed and “Freshies” had begun. An original song that talks about a time in which Keller thought about taking his pants off while snowboarding and getting chased by the ski patrol through the woods, yelling at him that they will clip his ticket, with Keller yelling back that his ticket is still on his pants at the top of the mountain, in which they had nothing to clip. The crowd seemed to really enjoy themselves during this one, really getting in the groove and enjoying the moment. Next there was “Love Handles,” a Williams original that talks about his love handles, telling his girl that she can hold onto them. Following this was Snoop Dog’s “Mary Jane,” a cover that truly fit the night and had everyone living in the moment. This again proved to the crowd how diverse of a catalog Keller truly has. The second set ended with “Super Hot Girl,” another original song from Keller. The encore had begun and the night was ended with KDub’s original song “Boob Job.” We were all happy with the show and the set list that bounced back and forth throughout numerous genres of music that would leave any fan in disbelief.
The night didn’t end there for me though. Lindsey, my friend Jonah and I got to our car and headed to Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar, also known as DBGB’s, a local bar in the Allen Street District in Buffalo. As we arrived, we were greeted by a ton of our friends and some new faces. Family Funktion and the Sitar Jams were the opening act with Rochesterbased heavy hitters OCUPANTHER ending the night. Family Funktion started about 20 minutes after we got there, creating an amazing array of music, with an Indian based platform that took a phenomenal psychedelic twist. About half way through their set, Keller Williams showed up to hang with the crowd. Keller came to the back of the room once he was done dancing and Ocupanther had started to set up. I got an opportunity to talk with him for a few minutes about music, Buffalo, the Grateful Dead and a few other things while also being able to get a quick picture! Keller is seriously a standup guy and one of the classiest of musicians that I have had the pleasure of meeting in the music scene. Ocupanther started and Keller dove back in to jam out like the rest of us. Both of these acts are worth checking out if you haven’t heard of them yet. This ended the night for us, proving once again how music can seriously soothe the soul
Live at the TralfMusic Hall
Turtle in the Front Row
Till’ We Close Our Minds for Good?????
Juicy Fruit Theme Song->
Funk de Funk
Let Your Fancy Flow????
Doobie in My Pocket
Between Your Heart and Your Head
Till’ The Morning Comes
Gate Crashers Suck
Floatin On the Freshies
Super Hot Girl
This was originally published HERE