Keller Williams to jam through New Year’s Eve on Hilton Head

(The Guide, 12/26/08) Forgive the hippies. They really aren’t trying to stop you from selling your house. They simply have a deep appreciation for groovy, hip-moving, light tunes from an artist who’s best known as being a one-man jam band.

So you’ll understand why, in the early ’90s, when Keller Williams first started to become known on the scene, it was common to see fans at his shows holding still-muddy Keller Williams Realty signs, ripped from nearby lawns.

That practice has mostly abated, which is a good thing, as Williams is coming to the land of prime real estate when he plays a three-set New Year’s Eve show at the Shoreline Ballroom on Hilton Head Island. The concert will include a special all-request set and an extra-special “Grunge Grass” set featuring bluegrass covers of ’90s alternative hits from the likes of Nirvana and Alice in Chains.

But the rest will feature Williams alone on stage, using his signature method of looping his own performance on different instruments to create a bigger, multi-layered sound.

Question. What’s the deal with this all-request set?

Answer. When you buy a ticket, you’re allowed a request. We’re doing a set of just what people requested. There’s no rules, you know. The majority of the requests is stuff that I haven’t played in a long time, like off early records. Sometimes (fans) request something off the wall, something they want to hear covered. I definitely don’t do it often — maybe one or two a year, just to try to make it more interesting.

Q. How did you get started doing the looped recording?

A. It was just me wanting to go further with just what I had — me and a guitar and a microphone. I was out on tour with (the String Cheese Incident), and I started to try the loop thing. That’s when people started to respond. I guess it was me wanting to go further, create more of a dance-vibe as a solo act by pressing some sequencers. I wanted to keep it more organic, kind of create the loops myself, bring the studio to the stage. I didn’t come up with it, but I expanded it, maybe. I always wanted to have a band, but I was never able to afford it. I love playing in (a) band. The energy way surpasses my solo show, but the solo thing is kind of what I do. It’s the day job.

Q. What was your worst New Year’s?

A. Two years ago, the day before, we lost my dog, Earl, who’s been with my wife and I. It was super crushing. That was by far the worst.

Q. And the best?

A. I opened for String Cheese so many times. They know how to put on a show. They would sink so much money in New Year’s Eve: lasers, trapeze, circus performers, concepts. The band would rev up the audience so much where the energy was just incredible.

Q. Do you worry someone will buy a ticket to the show and think it’s a real estate seminar?

A. I will welcome that personally. That will by far help me out in a great way. I might even make some new friends that way too. If you’re looking at property anywhere, please let me know. I’ll be happy to set you up with a proper representative.

Q: I think you will even pass at least one Keller Williams office on your way to the show.

A. I’m everywhere, man.

New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, feat. Keller Williams, Grunge Grass and DJ Moe Marsh
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31
Where: Shoreline Ballroom, 40 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island
Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 day of show
Information: 843-842-0358. http://www.shorelineballroom.com

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