An evening with Keller Williams

Peter Hoffman

By Peter Hoffman

Inside a packed Canopy Club on Sunday night, people awaited the unique sounds of Keller Williams’ one-man show. Despite numerous signs posted around the club that stated Williams had requested a non-smoking arena, the atmosphere was hazy and lazy, with smoke filling the air both before and during the show. However, the mellowed crowd was excited and generally positive.

Not long after his scheduled 10 p.m. start time, Williams casually walked barefoot on stage, clad in a plain t-shirt and flannel pajama pants. Williams’ trademark shows include him playing licks off of various instruments, recording them live and looping them. Using everything from electric and acoustic guitars, double bass, odd percussion instruments and creating beat loops with his own voice, Williams created a lighthearted sound. He used originals from his albums – such as his newest release “Grass” and older discs like “Laugh” – to mix with covers from Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Tenacious D. The mixture kept a variety of music flowing from the thumping speakers.

Williams’ show lasted well past 1 a.m. with concertgoers in the front dancing and swaying enthusiastically to the goofy and lighthearted sounds. Williams, along with his fans, showed no signs of fatigue during this marathon performance. Fans continued dancing after the lights came on and the exit music started playing. Though Williams was the only performer on stage during the show, he made it clear at the end of the second set that the music was much more than a one-man effort; he gave credit to people working on sounds behind the scenes, as well as his tour manager.

At the end of the night, fans were pleased with the performance and ready to get some rest after the double set. People came from all over Illinois to see the show because of Williams’ unique musical performance.

“I have a friend here who’s blind, but he’s having a great time … you want to know why?” one concert attendee asked. “Listen, that’s why,” he said.

    Sign up for our newsletter!