Monday, June 7, 2010

The Black Keys at the Crossroads

Posted By on Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 11:52 AM

The Black Keys can make some goddamn noise.

click to enlarge The Black Keys
  • The Black Keys
For a band made up of just two dudes, the duo managed to blast the hell out of the sold-out Crossroads on Friday night. 2,500 people turned out to see Akron, Ohio's finest.

The opening four songs were "Thickfreakness," "Girl Is On My Mind," "10 A.M. Automatic," and "Set You Free": a four-song blast that demonstrated that the Black Keys were there to bring it loud and dirty, rather than just knock out tunes.

All the performances Friday evening took the songs and gave them a different interpretation. It was a pleasant nod to the band's blues leanings that, rather than slavishly representing the music as it was on record, guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach instead turned everything rough and loose.

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Forester Michael

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"10 A.M. Automatic" was punk as fuck -- distorted, heavy, and rough, while "Set You Free" was turned into a sultry sex jam about half a beat slower than on Thickfreakness. These early tracks -- both in terms of their placement in the set, as well as in the Keys' discography -- were the highlight of the show. 
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Forester Michael
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Forester Michael

A lot of the Brothers cuts were played with the assistance of some of the members of Brian Olive, the opening act, which may have contributed to their lackluster live performance. I'd've preferred to have seen what Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney could have done with the Brothers numbers by stripping them of the embellishment given them in the studio.

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Set list

Thickfreakness

Girl Is On My Mind

Set You Free

10 A.M. Automatic

The Breaks

Stack Shot Billy

Busted

Everywhere I Go

Same Old Thing

Strange Times

Tighten Up

Howlin' For You

Too Afraid To Love You

Next Girl

She's Long Gone

Ten Cent Pistol

I'll Be Your Man

Your Touch

No Trust

I Got Mine

Encore:

Everlasting Light

Till I Get My Way

Brian Olive's opening set was lackluster, as well. The act was a boringly derivative garage act. It took an eight piece band (led by the former Greenhornes and Soledad Brothers frontman Oliver Henry) to sound like a four-piece. The band played seemingly unending songs, with a set that stretched out to a particularly uncomfortable hour. As I stated to my concert-going companion, I'd heard better bands playing from the sidewalk on the walk from the car. Her response summed them up even more aptly: "Hell, I heard a better ice cream truck."

Grinders' Stretch, MC-ing the show.
  • Grinders' Stretch, MC-ing the show.

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Half the audience was more interested in gossiping and smoking than paying attention to the rock brought on stage before them. The show starting a good hour later than advertised (and a dreadfully boring opening act) brought the mood down, but the show was about a million miles away from what it could have been. Much like the Dead Weather a month ago, the Black Keys could have benefited from an atmosphere more conducive to their music than the block party-like vibe that permeated the Crossroads.

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