Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys
It may have taken eight years and six albums, but the Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys look to have finally found their place amongst the mainstream rock contingent. Fresh off supporting Kings of Leon at their Hyde Park mega-show in June, and victory at the MTV VMAs ‘Breakthrough Video’ for the excellent ‘Tighten Up‘, they embarked on a series of sold out shows across the country in support of their ‘Brothers’ album.
You could have forgiven them, therefore to stick to their guns and play tracks from the new album, but they surprising played a lot of tracks from the back catalogue.
Opener ‘Thickfreakness’ was a rip-roaring start to affairs, before turning to the slower tempo-d ’Girl Is On My Mind.’ The blistering speed of the opening tracks, which also included ‘10am Automatic,’ left drummer Patrick Carney covered in sweat, whilst the mesmerizing guitar work of Dan Auerbach sent the crowd into a frenzy of head banging and bouncing around the venue. It was hard not to feel spaced out whilst watching and you felt as though you’d been transported to a American Deep South cowboy bar, due to the heavy rawness of their earlier tracks, including ‘Stack Shot Billy’, ‘Act Nice and Gentle’ and ‘Busted.’
However it took the majority of the crowd to rev up once they were joined on stage by a bassist and keyboardist to play tracks from the new album. In the howling chorus of ‘Next Girl’, Auerbach managed to get the whole crowd echoing back the lyrics, whilst in the aforementioned ‘Tighten Up’, his whistling was imitated by several in the crowd, but they did not ooze the same coolness which Auerbach brings to the table.
They also played a few songs from 2008’s ‘Attack & Release’ album, which was produced by Danger Mouse, one half of Gnarls Barkley, ‘Strange Times’ and ‘I Got Mine.’ They returned with an encore of ‘Sinister Kid’ and ‘Your Touch’, the latter got the whole crowd moving jumping around and even a few mosh pits, strangely.
Overall, The Black Keys’ brilliance of their early blues rock efforts combined to blow the crowd and venue away, whilst in light of newer efforts, they showed they had added coolness to their rawness as they seemed to play without too much effort. However, the one disappointment I had, was the lack of interest in the crowd for their older songs, many of whom only seemed to turn up for the newer stuff, as they are now seen as a “cool” band to like.
Setlist:Thickfreakness, Girl is on My Mind, 10am Automatic, The Brakes, Stack Shot Billy, Busted, Act Nice and Gentle, Everlasting Light, Next Girl, Chop and Change, Howlin’ For You, Tighten Up, She’s Long Gone, Ten Cent Pistol, I’ll Be Your Man, Strange Times, I’ve Got Mine.
Encore: Sinister Kid, Your Touch