Throughout Keller Williams’ 20+ year career, the one-man jam band from Fredericksburg, VA has put out a dizzying amount of albums and spawned all sorts of unique projects, never settling in one spot for too long stylistically. This blueprint has yielded a vast and diverse catalog of music to draw from, making K-Dub’s live shows absolutely unpredictable.

Over the weekend, Williams brought his recently formed trio featuring upright bass player Rob Wasserman and drummer Rodney Holmes to Millvale, PA at Mr. Smalls Theatre to close out what has been an exceptional run of dates. Mr. Smalls holds a particularly special place in Williams’ heart, as he’s played there countless times over the years and even recorded his live-concert DVD Sight there over two nights in November 2004.

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Kicking the evening off with a short, solo acoustic set, K-Dub danced out onto the stage as he normally does with a youthful exuberance, already immersed in a jam, locks flowing, head-a-bobbing. The opening instrumental medley lead to two consecutive tracks from 2007’s Dream, “Cookies” and “Cadillac.” The seamlessness and flow of K-Dub’s set was impeccable, as he would jump from tune to tune without any warning, keeping the packed crowd dancing and engaged.

Williams eclectic taste in music was on full display down the home stretch of the first set, as he would bust out covers of Weezer’s “Island In The Sun,” Daft Punk’s “Doin’ It Right,” and the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street” to close it. Where else on any given night are you going to hear all three of those bands covered? Probably nowhere else other than a Keller Williams show! His ability to adapt songs and make them his own is uncanny.

Returning for the second set with Rob Wasserman and Rodney Holmes, the Millvale crowd was ready to see what this trio was all about. They opened with an inspired version of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” before mixing in several tunes from K-Dubs most recent studio effort, Vape. Versions of “High And Mighty,” “She Rolls,” “The Drop,” and “Making It Rain” all made appearances in the second set as did a pair of birds, that is the Dead’s “Bird Song,” and Phish’s “Birds of a Feather.” The trio really hit the pocket during these improv jams, moving through them effortlessly and hitting on all types of peaks and valleys.

Veering into jazz and even reggae nodes at time, Wasserman and Holmes were a perfect pair for K-Dub to team up with on this tour. Their interpretation of Keller’s “Freeker By The Speaker” with a slower, down-tempo groove had everyone getting down. This lead to one of the most entertaining sections of the night with the stage being left to Wasserman and then Holmes, respectively, for them to bust out a few solos of their own. There’s no question that both of these men are world class musicians. The focus and intensity to which they play their instruments is truly inspiring. One can tell that they’re “all in” when they’re up there caught up in the moment.

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The trio’s set rounded out with Keller classics “Ninja of Love” and “Breathe,” with the Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias” serving as the encore. For a group that has only played a handful of gigs together, the Keller Williams Trio has a great base to build upon if and when they return to playing again. Luckily for us, Holmes will be joining Williams’ even newer project, the KWAHTRO, which will premiere early next year. The bottom line is, don’t miss K-Dub if you get the chance. He will not disappoint.

[All photos by David Heath of Lofty Views]