Keller Williams Brings KWahtro Quartet To Lake Tahoe For A Night Of Fun

first_imgLaugh. Dance. Breathe. Vape. These are all names of albums released by performer Keller Williams over the last twenty years of his bountiful career. They also act a great guideline for enjoying one of his shows if done on repeat for two hours. The man makes music a blast with his doobie-in-his-pocket demeanor, eclectic musical journeys that circumvent genre boundaries and his inspired rumblings down the neck of a six-string. He brought his newly minted project KWahtro and Portland, OR’s The Shook Twins to the Crystal Bay Casino in Crystal Bay, NV, and the place was bursting at the seams with infectious joy. A band that has been tagged “indie-folk” wouldn’t immediately strike you as a good fit to open for Keller Williams but The Shook Twins proved to be a solid choice with an impressive set to start the night. Having just played WinterWonderGrass three weeks earlier in Squaw Valley (watch highlights here), just a couple miles east along Lake Tahoe from Crystal Bay, the band was back to water the sonic seedlings they had recently planted in the region. Katelyn (Vocals, Guitar, Ukelele) and Laurie (Vocals, Guitar, Banjo) Shook sang like beautiful meadowlarks with their full and clear harmonies and were bolstered by the stylish play of Niko Daoussis (Guitar, Bass, Mandolin) and Josh Simon (Bass, Guitar). Their vibrant sound was a splendid blending of blues, folk, rock, and soul that the band served to the crowd like warm nectar, especially on a rich number like “Time To Swim.” Like Williams, the band plays loose with genre definitions and likes to texture its songs with loops, beat-boxing and smatterings of musical color from various percussion elements. Williams joined the members for an exploratory “Friend of The Devil” finale and led everyone in and out of jams with aplomb, even encouraging an impromptu xylophone solo from Katelyn before sharing his own. The band has got some cool juju, and it’s easy to fall under their spell after seeing them live. If you go to Williams’ website, you can find at least ten different projects of which he is an active member; he has always been one to play well with others. His exuberance for sharing the stage with talented players has always led to interesting combinations and his latest band KWahtro keeps that streak going. Gibb Droll (Guitar), Rodney Holmes (Drums) and Danton Boller (Bass) were a crack outfit that gave Williams’ acoustic dance riffs some real weight. The guitarist has the musical energy of one of those inflatable balloon guys that whip around in front of car dealerships, and it was a treat to watch the band match his unique moves. The crowd was keen to dance and KWahtro kept them happy all night long. By himself, it takes Williams some time to build up the force of his songs as he layers the different parts together with a looping machine. But he was able to burst right out of the gates onto the dance floor with KWahtro, a nice added shot of adrenaline compared to his solo shows. The band’s flexibility allowed it to shape jams to follow whatever groove tangent Williams went off on. Song after song, Droll, Holmes and Boller showcased how their talents blended smoothly with Williams’ style. Droll electrified his acoustic guitar and was the perfect Goose to Williams’ Maverick as they dipped and dove along to the night’s nimble melodies. Droll especially added spitfire picking to a soaring “I Feel High.” Boller was a shape-shifting bassist whose slippery bass line on Phish’s “Birds of A Feather” really funkifized the original and gave Williams some worbly undertones to vibe with. Holmes’ startling precision and intricate cymbal and hi-hat rhythms crushed a dub-inspired “Making It Rain” and his rock-steady presence provided a real launch pad for a number of heady expeditions. There were not too many breaks between songs and the music washed over the audience like swells along the beach, the band surfing over the rolling rhythms and melodies. A set closing run of “Off Time Chorus Line,” “Breathe,” “The Drop” and back into “Breathe” was the night’s greatest masterpiece. Williams was able to create a liquified groove that ran through all the songs and tied them together nicely as the band explored reggae, trance and soul tones. The band left the stage to frenzied applause and the audience smiled one collective smile. The best way to describe the night is to simplify to one word: Fun.last_img

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