The Black Keys – Central Park Summerstage (7-28-10)

The sun was just beginning to set beyond the trees over the west side of the park. The Morning Benders had just wowed us with a fantastically mature set for a band of children (I have no idea how old they actually are, but none of them look a day over 18) and we were basking in the glow of the sun, the park, and the music still ringing in our ears. And that’s when Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach, the two men who make up The Black Keys, took the stage. As far as I know, there are only three bands in the world that can utilize a duo to sound fuller than most other 4 or 5 piece bands: The White Stripes, Sleigh Bells, and our very own Black Keys.

Seated high atop his drum riser, Pat looked like a hipster version of an ogre. Beat up guitar in hand, Dan’s new haircut looked reminiscent of Trey Anastasio (and also that guy who plays piano in Glee). But despite their looks, The Black Keys sounded neither hipster nor jam band. Simply and energetically, they played the blues.

Ever since watching a video-cast of their Bonnaroo 2006 set, I’ve been pining to see the Keys in concert. What I saw at that show were two guys who managed to sound like a full blues band, all while romping around onstage like a bunch of possessed demons. This, I realized, was a band for me.

The Keys started the show with just Dan and Pat, guitarist and drummer, playing the blues as down as dirty as it gets. Which is what they do best. Tearing through hits such as 10AM Automatic, Girl On My Mind, and I Got Mine, the band kicked the show into high gear early as only they can. Following a few early Keys tracks, the band invited a bassist and keyboardist onstage with them to play the majority of their new album, Brothers. Elana was pretty excited, as this is the album she knew the best, and the band perfectly replicated instant classics like Everlasting Light, Howlin’ For You, and Next Girl. While I do prefer their earlier heavier stuff, this album is still chock-full of awesome Keys songs. After the supporting musicians departed, Dan and Pat went back to their old school blues – rocking out to classics like Your Touch, Stack Shot Billy, No Trust.

The show was unbelievable, with raw unbridled blues power, absurdly overdriven guitar solos, and chips of drumsticks flying everywhere. It was a true rock show, with more energy than any show I’ve seen in quite some time. If you want to check out what The Black Keys sound like live, check out this bootleg I posted a few months back. But if you really want to know what it’s like, you’ve got to go to a show.

Enjoy the pics!

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