Last night, a pretty decent sized crowd gathered (especially considering who else was in town) for Keaton Collective’s final show. The indie rock sextet filled every inch of Barboza with their mega-sound, and I could see why they drew a crowd. They knew how to work the room.
Yes, Keaton Collective filled up Barboza, but Timothy Robert Graham could have filled Key Arena.
Both Keaton Collective, the headliner, and Cloud Person, the second act, were extremely musically capable and put on a great show, but Graham, the first act, was something neither of the other bands were: unflinchingly compelling.
The work Graham put into this album-release show for Speak — from recruiting top-notch musicians like drummer Alex Coleman, bassist Nelson Icenhower, and keyboardist Gabe Molinaro to securing a liquid light show from Britt Drake for the backdrop — was apparent from the moment he stepped onstage. Cool and (Keaton) collected(ive), if Graham was nervous, no one knew it. He projected the same effortlessly secure-in-himself vibe I felt when I interviewed him onstage, which is no easy feat. At the age of 31, Graham has the stage presence of someone who’s been in the business for as long as Graham has been alive and the baby face of an 18-year-old plucked off the street. His massive guitar seemed almost bigger than him, but he commanded it with the power Boo has over Sully in Monsters Inc.
Even with a few slightly screechy high notes, Graham’s voice demanded attention. He sounded even better live than on the already very realistic sounding record, possibly due to the incredible talent of his chosen band. Graham himself emulated a vocal glide: he kind of sneaks up on you, and before you know it, you’re just like, “holy shit, that’s some good ish.”
According to Superorganism, everybody wants to be famous. But, not everyone actually has the talent and affability to achieve that. Timothy Robert Graham does.