Keller Williams – a hilariously legendary one-man, live-looping performance powerhouse – is no stranger to the Mishawaka. Having played at the Mish countless times over the years, his familiar presence shined in a three-set spectacular last Friday night.
In true Keller fashion, Mr. Williams opened up for himself as the sun set and folks filled the amphitheater waiting to hear his funky jams and unique songwriting talent. Originals including “Best Feeling” and fan-favorite “Freaker By the Speaker” filled the airwaves as Keller looped multiple instruments with drum beats and other acoustic sounds.
As the midsummer night air began to chill, anticipation for the following two sets of Grateful Grass grew. Everyone in the house erupted in cheers as Keller walked back on stage accompanied by an all-star cast of musicians: Keith Moseley (of String Cheese Incident), Jacob Jolliff (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), and John Mailander (of Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers).
We were promised many Grateful Dead tunes in the way of bluegrass, and the quartet did not disappoint! From Brown-Eyed Women to Catfish John, Don’t Let Go, and Shakedown Street, concertgoers from the front to the back danced and sang their hearts out to these endearing classics.
The music of the Dead is often covered, but the Grateful Grass group certainly did these tunes justice. Keith Moseley held a steady and tight groove on the bass, Jacob Jolliff picked a plenty on his mandolin, and John Mailander treated us to the smooth but rowdy sounds of his fiddle. And of course, Keller did his thing singing and twanging to keep the music moving.
Although one set of Keller Williams and two sets of Grateful Grass totaled nearly 4 hours of music, the group came out with a strong Bertha encore to cap off the night. The spirit of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s music was truly felt by all at the Mish on a cool Friday night, not soon to be forgotten!
- Written by Daniel Crumb
- Photos from Sunny Side Production
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