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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 7 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 45
The Black Keys turn it up @ Key Arena
Arts & Entertainment
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The Black Keys turn it up @ Key Arena

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

THE BLACK KEYS
KEY ARENA
November 1


Akron, Ohio duo The Black Keys took Key Arena by storm on Saturday night fueled by the familiar sonic assault that drummer Patrick Carney and guitarist Dan Auerbach have perfected since their inception back in 2001. It's never an easy feat to reach an arena size audience when you're a band that cut its teeth in garage rock clubs, but all those years clocked on the road have served them well. The Black Keys swagger and roll as if no one was watching, when in fact from floor to nosebleeds, everyone is mesmerized.

'Dead and Gone' and 'Next Girl' wasted no time in setting the tone for the evening as the duo ripped through a wide array of tracks from past and present. During the first three, things appeared aesthetically a little off kilter, as additional musicians John Wood and Richard Swift seemed to be almost purposely hidden behind a giant bass amp and the rest of the gear. With such a huge stage to fill, it was odd to stash their live band so awkwardly in the background when their sound - and the stage - was so much wider. Nevertheless, after 'Run Right Back' the projected curtain 'dropped' to reveal an expanse of industrial strength lighting and a dozen moving screens that filled the space. With that, 'Gold On The Ceiling' took off and the rest of the night continued on the same high.

Fans were treated to live rarity 'Leavin' Trunk,' a song recorded for their debut album but one that Auerbach confessed they'd only been playing live for a few weeks. Cold-hearted lovers, relationships gone sour, and moving on are always ripe themes for blues-soaked rock, and The Black Keys do it exceedingly well.

Slow-burner 'Too Afraid to Love You' paved the way for live staple 'Howlin' For You,' followed by a surprise cover of Edywn Collins' 'A Girl Like You,' which surprisingly made sense in its crunchy Black Keys-style delivery.

Though eighth album, Turn Blue, is a somewhat milder affair than their breakthrough album Brothers (which earned three Grammy Awards in 2010) and 2011's acclaimed El Camino, it's not without it's barn-burners even while exploring more soulful territory. 'Fever' is in fact one of their most infectious tracks yet, and 'Weight of Love' stretches out to an epic seven minutes.

The light show was intense and suited them well; constantly popping white lights and flashes triggered in all the right places to accentuate Patrick Carney's deceptively loose but hard-hitting drum style. Following 'She's Long Gone' and 'Lonely Boy,' the band returned for a straightforward encore of new tracks 'Weight of Love' and 'Turn Blue' before ending with 'Little Black Submarines' in one last sonic assault. There are few bands that can turn it out and turn it up the way The Black Keys can, arena rock or club rock, it makes no difference. At heart they're still the same primal, blues-rock soaked power duo that came bursting out of Akron.

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