Thursday, February 27, 2014

Keller Williams starring More Than A Little w/Jon Wayne and The Pain - "What The Funk Tour" @ The District - Sioux Falls, SD - (2/24/14)

MTAL Summer Camp Victor Wooten (credit: Brian Spady)
A Review By: Troy Manley
Keller Williams is from Fredericksburg, Virginia and if often described as a one-man jam-band because of his frequent use of live looping and multiple instruments during performances. Williams hit the road for a semi-national tour of the United States with his band, More Than A Little, in support of their most recent album, FUNK. Luckily for South Dakotans Keller made a pit stop on the "What The Funk Tour" at The District. The District opened its doors to Sioux Falls residents in the Fall of 2013, and has a capacity around 1,500. The venue is in the parking lot of the Sioux Empire Mall - which happens to be the largest single story mall in America - just off Interstate i-29. The District sports a fairly large standing area with a balcony with some more general admission space and a couple VIP booths. The stage is easily viewable from all parts of the floor; they unfortunately had the balcony closed for the night.

Starting things off for the night was Minneapolis based reggae, rock, and dub band with definite jam and EDM influences, Jon Wayne and the Pain. The group maintains a unique psychedelic reggae sound in their self-described "Reggae-Tronic Dub" by blending traditional styles of reggae-rock with bass heavy sections of electronic dub.  This trio has played an average of 20 shows a month over the past 4 years, playing venues and festivals across the country in support of their three full length albums. While living the dream may sound like a cake-walk, these guys poured their heart and soul into their performance at the District and the crowd was doing the same right back. Highly recommend checking these dudes out if they come anywhere remotely close to you in the future!
Jon Wayne and The Pain

Once the set break concluded and I had time to put the pieces of my brain back together, Keller came on for a brief 45-minute solo set consisting of looping and sampling for the handful of instruments that accompanied him on stage. After playing through a majority of his set, he invited Gerard Johnson to come on stage and take over the keyboards, he was followed by DJ Shaw on bass, Toby Fairchild on drums, and Tonya Lazenby Jackson and Sugah Davis helping out with vocals. Once they were on stage, Keller disappeared for a couple minutes only to reappear having ditched his casual attire for a suit and tie.  

MTAL (credit: Roger Gupta)

The group played through a majority of their album, FUNK, which consists of 10 songs; 6 of which are covers ranging from Rick James to the Grateful Dead, from Talking Heads to Flight of the Conchords. In an interview with hottesttune, Keller said the name of the band "came from the feelings he got the first time he played with this group. He was more than a little happy, more than a little inspired. And of course, the group is 'more than a little funky.'" Down-right funky is how I would describe the events that transpired on stage that magical night at The District. Keller & More Than a Little played with the utmost precision throughout the night as Williams was directing members of the band to play extended jams with each other while effortlessly moving between tracks. Gospel infused funk turned The District into a church of heavenly tunes for all those down with the get down to get down.  Hands down one of the best funk shows I have ever seen, I cannot encourage all you beautiful people enough to make it to a stop on this tour.  Pick up FUNK through Keller's site, HERE.

All Photos of MTAL taken from Keller William's official website gallery, HERE


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