Photo Credit Maximilian Images
Killiam Shakespeare fast became a fixture of the Philadelphia music scene as chief architects of the Beat Street Jam and contributors to The PLAYlist’s 2017 Chasing Goosebumps LP, piloted by the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff. The band, led by drummer Steve McKie and keyboardist Corey Bernhard, is behind the recent resurgence of open jam culture. That creative ecosystem coupled with a massive storehouse of talent is responsible for a genre-fluid scene that has always been the backbone of music in the City of Brotherly Love. Killiam hit the stage over the weekend to give yet another clinic on the art of the jam that did the tradition proud.
Band members Bernhard, McKie, Anthony Decarlo, Simon Martinez and Dwayne Moore, packed a major dose of dynamism into a Saturday night set, which saw their signature series trading its home base of Silk City for new digs at Johnny Brenda’s. Joined by singer and series host Aaron Camper, the band burned through standouts from their two-project catalog as deftly as they tackled the material of special invited guests, including fresh faced D.C. ingenue Reesa Renee, series regular Jakeya Sanders and r&b cult favorite Muhsinah.
It was frequent collaborators Chris Turner and George “Spanky” McCurdy, however, that gave the standout performances of the evening. Turner’s vocal dexterity, honey-dipped falsetto and captivating raw emotion melted away the cool in the room on cuts like “21st Century,” “Social Life” and “Liquid Love.” Spanky’s percussive showmanship was a perfect counterpoint, punctuating the evening with an airtight pocket and improvisational flair that reinforced the city’s presence as a longstanding musical force on the world stage. Watch the performance footage below for a recap of the show.