Keller Williams played to a capacity crowd at Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Bellevue, Colo. on Saturday night with the same sense of restless energy he has become known for over the past 15 years. An eclectic catalog of looped trance jams, thoughtful covers and raw bluegrass alongside champion pickers, the Keels, kept the crowd moving and light-hearted, even as concertgoers meandered out of (or further into) the Poudre Canyon.
Williams has earned the respect of the jam band community and guitar enthusiasts alike, and with crowd favorites, “Kidney in a Cooler” and “Gate Crashers Suck,” it’s easy to see why. But Williams is also very comfortable with chaos, and is constantly moving to maintain order over multi-layered orchestrations involving two guitars, an electric bass, a drum machine, vocals and a synth-pad — for starters.
Photos, below, from a Keller & the Keels show at the Boulder Theater earlier this year.
Williams opened with a quiet version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” before covering Van Morrison, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty along the way. But first and second set turns with the Keels colored the night bluegrass. Fast-fingered Larry Keel hammered his way into songs with drastic precision and neck-bending techniques. Jenny Keel on vocals and upright bass anchored songs like “Get It While You Can” amidst a picking frenzy.
The show finished with a to-the-punch encore, which capped the performance a success. And whether bussing in from neighboring Fort Collins or camping in the vicinity of the venue, fans who had come to see Keller Williams put on a show, had gotten one.
Brendan Magee is a Denver-based writer and new contributor to Reverb. When not writing, Brendan is working on his own music as a singer-songwriter in Capitol Hill.