Theo Katzman Is the Wheel

This past Friday, the legendary music venue Trees was gifted the performance of Theo Katzman. Located in the historic entertainment district Deep Ellum of downtown Dallas, Trees was jam-packed with lovers of funk, jazz, and rock ballads. After a dubious parallel parking job, I rushed to wait at the doors of the music venue. The line of Theo fans snaked across the building. I knew one thing: Excitement was bubbling.

Opening the show, Benjamin Jaffe walked out with youthful energy, engaging with the crowd and the occasional heckler. His first song was simple and cute – a song about cats. Benjamin’s sharp lyricism read well to the audience, drawing the listeners to a conversation. His connection reminded me of good stand-up comedy. Choruses of “aww” and chuckles filled the chamber as Benjamin continued his storytelling. Overall, Benjamin showed himself as a pleasant reflection of what fans of Theo Katzman love: charming stories with jazzy guitar voicings.

After Benjamin Jaffe’s heartfelt opener, the audience was warmed up for the entrance of Theo Katzman and his band. Theo’s exuberance washed over the crowd as they hit it up with the titular track of Theo’s album Be the Wheel. On top of some snazzy guitar riffs played by Packy Lundholm, the song elegantly brought out the message “to rid yourself of traditional limitations and stick with what makes things fundamentally great”. Along with a selection of songs in Theo’s current year release, the band played a mix of music from Theo’s earlier work, including songs from his album Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe.

Of course, whether you have followed Theo’s touring or are a Vulfpeck fan, it isn’t surprising that Joe Dart put the work into his signature bass. The funk especially hit in the song “The Death of Us,” which featured Theo’s stank face-worthy talkbox solo. Now, imagine that cooked up with Dave Mackay’s key shredding and Jordan Rose’s explosive rhythm.

Theo Katzman’s tour under 10 Good Songs checked off a personal to-do for me, given that I have been a massive fan of Theo Katzman and his work on Vulfpeck. If you are a person who just wants to reconnect with the human spirit, definitely look out for Theo Katzman in the future. That night, Theo and his band brought back the joys and positive outlooks a person needs to accurately reflect on life.