Keller Williams & The Keels 8-20-2015
Mainstage Morgantown WV
by B.A. Jones
It was my first trip into Morgantown WV. and I was excited, not just for Keller & The Keels, but it was also the Grand Opening of Mainstage Morgantown. I drove four hours, and picked up my friend Trish, who drove as my designated driver to the show and back. When we made it there, it was very busy, and I could hear Keller Williams just starting his solo set. The venue is huge, the room off to the left had a bar and tables, and was bigger than many bars I’ve been to. The largest part of the venue is a very big dance floor from the stage back, then rows of tables and another bar run all the way down the right side.
For a Thursday night the crowd was large, with I’m guessing at least 600 people. The venue and the bathrooms were very clean, and I saw the mop bucket appear all night, wiping up spills. Keller was on point, and in his usual energetic, charismatic mood. The dance floor was packed, from front to back, everyone was happily dancing, smiling, and singing. The atmosphere crackled with joy and kinship. I thought Mainstage Morgantown was the perfect place for Keller Williams & The Keels mini tour to kick off! My only gripes were pretty minor… They didn’t give coin change for the parking meters, it took me 15 minutes to get my 1st beer, and they ran out of PBR tallboys by 11p.m. All very miniscule set backs.
I integrated into the crowd at the back of the dance floor, with a Cheshire smile upon my face. Keller had us entranced with “Positive Reggae”, then had us all singing along to “Scarlet Begonias”. Then, he anesthetized us with “Freakshow”, and I felt like I was floating. We enthusiastically sang along to “Doobie In My Pocket”, and the crowd hit it’s crescendo with “Kidney In A Cooler”. We were breathless and feeling no pain (at least I was) by the end of Keller’s solo set.
In celebration of their grand opening, the owners gave away pairs of tickets in a raffle during set break. A pair for 2 shows @ Mainstage; Cabinet, and Dopapod, as well as two tickets to Brew Skies Festival. Not long after, Keller Williams, Larry Keel, and Jenny Keel took to the stage to a roaring and eager audience. Keller & The Keels started out with a bluegrass flavored version of “Born A Rebel”, and so began a night of sing-a-long’s for the attendees.
They played “Roadhouse Blues” into “Another Brick In The Wall” to our delight. Jenny’s voice compliments Keller’s voice magically, and Larry adds the sonic picking. Both bluegrass and jam combine so well with these three, like rum, cola, and lime. They were all so precise the crowd got quiet a few times during “Big Ass Crater In The Backyard”, so we could appreciate their agility! I was fascinated all night with their impressive cohesiveness and accuracy.
We all sang loudly to their jam-grass version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, and then to “Brown Eyed Woman”. They played an impeccable “Mantra”, and we all got “Hepped Up On Goofballs”. Larry sang us “Culpepper Woodchuck”, then Keller enamored us with “Sex And Candy”. We were all having fun, and the vibe was one of kindred spirits. We were gifted a “Dancing Fool” into “St. Stephen”, and I was grateful. “Freaker By The Speaker” had the crowd dancing at a fevered pace, then we REALLY got “Pumped Up”!
The set got more divine as it progressed, and I reveled in the glory that is Keller & The Keels Church. A kind “Ms. Ferris” led us seductively into “Breathe”. “Breathe” into a beautiful “Roses”, into a spectacular and inspiring “Seven Bridges Road”. We all sang in unison back into “Breathe”. We were all left enamored. They exited the stage, and the crowd screamed, roared, and whistled for a continuous 2 minutes! They came back out, for a face melting 3 song encore. “Last Dance With Mary Jane” was infallible, Keller definitely does Tom Petty justice, it was flawless. They went right into “Breakdown”, then topped off the night with “Port-A-Potty”‘ one of my favorites!
The end of the show was like coming down off an enormous adrenaline rush. Since I had such minor complaints, I give the venue **** four out of five stars. A heartfelt thank you to Keller Williams, Jenny Keel, and Larry Keel for such an amazing and astounding night of music. It’s nights like this that feed my soul, with music as delectable as 3 year aged raspberry moonshine! It’s shows like this, that I live for. All of the employees at Mainstage Morgantown were nice. I was impressed with the venue, cleanliness is a big bonus for me. Even though it’s 5 hours away from me, I will happily go back, and enjoy more phenomenal music. Thank you all for your hard work, I had an enormously great time. #FoodForTheSoul