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Anderson, Carpenter, Smith, and Cabra take the stage at Duck Room

Senior Keller Anderson and his band played at the famed Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in University City last Friday night, on a stage once frequented by rock and roll legend Chuck Berry. In a vibrant performance, the band played a set of both original and cover songs to a standing room only audience of 180, who packed the venue for an evening of excellent live music.

Anderson and Cabra performing onstage. Photo | Andrew Hunt

Though Anderson has been involved in music for over a decade, his career as a performer has begun to take off over the last year. Since assembling his band—consisting of Anderson on vocals and piano, senior Leo Smith on drums, senior Ryan Carpenter on bass, and CBC senior Sam Castro on guitar—in early 2022, Anderson has played three shows of increasing size. A February 2022 show with then-senior Jude Fucetola ’22 at the Gaslight Lounge served as the band’s live debut, which was followed by another live gig in May, this time at the Old Rock House, with openers from senior Jason Cabra—whose stage name is J Cab—and junior Archie Carruthers, who goes by Archer-C on stage.

With senior year underway, Anderson began planning another show in November, beginning the search for a venue. After playing a solo gig at the Duck Room in the summer, Anderson knew he wanted to return with his band.

“We reached out around late November, early December for the Duck Room,” said Anderson. “And then we finally got confirmation for last weekend at the end of January. So yeah, it took a long time.”

Similarly to the Old Rock House show last year, the night opened with a performance from Cabra, who ran through originals and covers throughout his 30 minutes on stage. In preparation for the concert, Anderson and Cabra had worked together in order to nail down the sound for Cabra’s set. Carruthers was on stage alongside Cabra, responsible for controlling the audio tracks. 

While Cabra’s performance had undoubtedly been a hit, Anderson emerged for his solo set eager to prove that the night was far from over. 

First, Anderson performed six original hip-hop songs, including his and Carruthers’ collaboration, “Won’t Ever Die,” which the pair released last spring. The original “Bad Girl” also made its live debut, and, despite the relative newness, its inclusion was a highlight of the setlist for many in attendance.

“I would call myself a very avid Keller Anderson fan,” said St. Joseph’s Academy senior Liv Brussati. “‘Bad Girl’ is one of my favorite songs, and since I’m a day one Keller Anderson fan, it was a full circle moment for me.”

Following a three-song interlude featuring just Anderson, a microphone, and a piano, the band made their way out for the night’s main attraction. 

Unlike in previous acts, the band’s set was split evenly between cover songs and originals, all of which kept the energy high. In order to mark the occasion of playing in the Duck Room, the band’s second song of the night was Chuck Berry’s classic “Johnny B. Goode,” which the band hadn’t played since their show last February. 

Another highlight of the concert for many attendees, as in previous shows, was Anderson’s performance of the indie rock hit “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron, which has been on the setlist for each of the band’s past concerts.

In constructing the setlist, Anderson wanted to ensure that the band did not fall into a pattern of playing the same songs each show, and thus falling into the trap of becoming a cover band. Instead, he felt it was important to assemble a tracklist that would highlight the talents of each band member, and that wasn’t just the same songs that had already been played.

“I don’t want to make it seem like we’re a cover band,” said Anderson. “I want it to be original music showing off the individual and the group talents of everybody who’s on the stage. What I do is I go through and I pick the originals that I think people would enjoy the most and I pick the ones that I wanted to perform as well. But for the most part, it’s songs that I think we can perform as a band or I can do individually that the audience would enjoy.”

The band also played five of Anderson’s original songs, which were of particular enjoyment to the members of the band, who were able to create arrangements for Anderson’s songs, which to that point only existed on piano.

“Keller writes these songs just on piano, and he doesn’t write them with whole instrumentations,” said Smith. “So, we as a band get to work that out in real time, like where we want a guitar solo or where we want a little pre-chorus build up. That’s the fun part of my job, is I get to figure out where to do that.” 

Above all, both Anderson and the band were most struck by the engagement from the crowd, which made an incredible music night just that much better.

“On stage, it’s the moments between the songs, where I really get to interact with the crowd and talk to people, instead of just being quiet and going on to the next song, like you’d see at a jazz performance or something like that. I can get in people’s faces and talk to the crowd, which I enjoyed. For the most part, the whole night overall was just amazing,” said Anderson.
“The venue was beautiful, and the crowd was great,” said Smith. “It was super interactive, with a good number of people. Working with the people from the Duck Room was great. They’re very professional, and it’s a big venue, so they put on a lot of shows.”

In terms of attendance, the night was Anderson’s most successful on record, with over 180 people in the crowd throughout the entire night. Following the concert’s success, Anderson’s mind has already drifted towards what else the band can accomplish before the end of the year.

“The thing that I really liked was that the first show, we had 120 people, we had 160 people at the next show, and then this show we have 180 people. All I want to see is it just to keep going up. That’d be awesome,” said Anderson.






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