The very charismatic Keaton, on tour in support of his latest release Can You Hear Me, pleased the audience with his unique vocals, skilled guitar playing and well-crafted songs like the very touching “Without Your Skin”. Not traveling with a full band, Keaton’s sound was still big thanks in part to percussionist Michael Jerome who accompanied him on the Cajon, a type of Peruvian drum in which the player sits atop its box-like structure and beats it with both hands. At the same time, Michael would tap his feet in which shakers and a tambourine were attached.
Keaton’s set was laid back but was also full of an energy that conveyed his love for being on the road. I especially felt the positive vibe he was transmitting when he played his upbeat single “Good Things Get Better” - a song that will have you tapping your feet whether you want to or not. Keaton is a maturing songwriter, who is only going to get better with age, that knows how to connect with audience members.
Among his fans that made the trek for the show were two that shared a four-hour drive. One of the two proudly displayed the “KS” tattoo on her ankle, which she got in honor of Keaton. After his set, Keaton made a point to sit with them at their table to let them know how thankful he was that they came such a long way to see him perform.
The Lava Brothers, a local Chicago band, were also on the bill and did a great job keeping the mood of the evening alive with a tasteful set of their own despite being without their drummer. Yes, they are really brothers and yes, Lava is their real last name.
Pete Francis then came out and delivered a healthy mix of his own solo tracks from his new album Iron Sea and the Cavalry with some Dispatch favorites. Pete’s feel good style and jamming guitar were epitomized in an extended version of “Johnny Ocho’s Lullaby” in which his wife, Katie Conboy, joined him onstage. Boo Reiners played alongside Pete, doubling as a bassist and guitarist on a baritone guitar while James Wormworth cranked away on the drums.
Missed Keaton? Worry not. You can see Keaton Simons perform November 8th at the Fire Bar and Grill in Crystal Lake where he will participate in an all day fundraiser for breast cancer along with Trey Lockerbie, Todd Carey, Curtis Peoples, Tony Lucca and Ernie Halter. There is no cover to get into this event although donations will be greatly appreciated. For more information call 815-459-3473.
Be sure to watch Buzz TV’s Kim Katz interview with Keaton Simons at www.BuzzNews.TV. Keaton talks about his new CD, his amazing family and even plays a song for Kim!