After reviewing Keller’s recent studio album and seeing his amazing show this past fall, I was fairly excited to see Keller come to Indianapolis for an intimate show at The Vogue. The artist known as “The One-Man Jam Band” always seems to deliver an interesting show, creating intricate sounds by looping several instruments simultaneously during live shows. Upon arrival to the familiar venue it was quickly apparent many local patrons were equally as excited to see Keller. I arrived well before the show was set to begin, thinking entry would be swift, but as I approached the venue it was obvious the well-known artist would have a jam packed crowd in attendance. After a long wait in the freezing cold I finally entered the venue and claimed a spot amongst the eagerly awaiting concert goers.
When Keller finally took the stage it was obvious his set wasn’t going to be as funky as his show last fall, but he definitely delivered more flow with his music, starting the set with an easygoing rendition of “Breathe”. He then played directly into “Cookies” and “Cadillac”, starting his first set strongly, but lacking the funkydubalicious sound to get the crowd grooving like he had this past fall. His set really started to take hold when he played “Something Else”, finally beginning to put some much needed energy into the crowd. The first set may have not featured the funky imrprov I witnessed this past fall, but it definitely showed the maturation of Keller’s musical prowess, with Keller offering the crowd with more crisp renditions of his tracks. The highlight of the first set was easily “Birds of a Feather”, which featured the classic song energizing the crowd and bringing a much needed smile to my face. Keller rode the high of this track by ending the set with “Convertible” and “I Love California”, keeping the energy of the crowd high and maintaining the set with tightly formulated tracks.
After a short intermission, Keller took the stage and began to wow the crowd with his second set of music. “Thin Mint” and “Gate Crashers Suck” started the set and quickly surpassed anything he had played in his first set of music. The irony of Keller playing “Gate Crashers” was quite silly given the hatred portrayed in the lyrics toward concertgoers of Jerry Garcia’s last live performance which took place at Deer Creek in Indianapolis in the early-90s. Also, the second set featured far more improvisation and funky looping by Keller. Also, “Gate Crashers” played directly into “Shakedown Street”, featuring the best jam of the evening and highlighting Keller’s obvious love of The Grateful Dead. He rode the high of this improve jam, carrying the energy and funkiness for the remainder of the show. This was very evident during “”Makin’ It Rain”, “Moving Sidewalk”, and “Dancin’ Fool” which featured the crowd fully under the artist’s control and far more dancing amongst the crowd.
The highlight of the set and the entire show was during “Best Feeling”, a track that invokes energy as well as euphoric happiness throughout the crowd. This track was the first song I fell in love with by Keller many years ago and brought an amazing tingle throughout my body as a huge smile crept upon my face. Keller ended his set with this, but in typical fashion, the crowd cheered as he left the stage for one more song. The wait for an encore didn’t take too long and Keller reentered the stage to perform “Celebrate Your Youth”. “Celebrate” definitely ended the show on a high note, further riding the energy brought by “Best Feeling”, and featuring the funky improvisation of his music I’ve grown so fond of. All in all, Keller delivered an excellent night of music. I must confess, I enjoyed his show at The Bluebird this past fall a lot more, but these two sets delivered a better flow of music and showed his growth and maturation as an artist. Click here to view more photos of the show
Photos by: Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images
Written by: Alex Toy.