Thursday, September 11, 2014
Artist: The Black Keys
Venue: The KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY
Last night we broke out of our normal mold and actually attended a show at an arena. Normally, we stick to smaller, more intimate venues because that's the atmosphere I prefer, but my husband is a huge Black Keys fan, so we bit the bullet. When I bought the tickets, I discovered that they had opened up the floor to standing room, general admission so I snapped up a couple of those and hoped for the best. Well, the best turned out to be right down front, on the rail, nothing but a couple very large security guards and a whole lot of sound waves between us and stage. Perfect.
As usual, let me start with the opener. Cage the Elephant, a band originally from Bowling Green, KY opened. I have one of their CDs and really like a couple of their songs, but I would be lying if I said this was one of my favorite live performances. Or even that I especially enjoyed it. There was a lot of media at this show (or at least more than I'm used to seeing) and the lead singer played to them so much it was kind of ridiculous. It was nice when they finally left and he could start paying attention to the crowd. Also, he mimics Mick Jagger's moves so much it was actually kind of comical. I thought the guys in the band played well and their songs are fast and fun, they just need to tone it down a bit.
After that, The Black Keys took the stage. It was Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney and two additional musicians on bass and keys. I don't have the usual guesstimate of the set list because I don't know the song names well enough to keep track and also because it didn't matter. As long as Patrick was playing the drums and Dan was playing guitar, he could have been singing the phone book for all I cared. There is not a lot of chatting in a Black Keys concert, it's not really Dan's thing, but that's fine with me, I kind of think that stopping to talk would have only broken the spell. And it was quite a spell they weaved. Patrick Carney is far and away the best drummer I have ever seen. He creates absolute magic. When he started playing, the drum got in my chest immediately and it felt like my entire body was vibrated apart until I just hung there, mixed with the music in the air. Then Dan swoops in with that guitar work and glues the pieces back together. It was everything that is wonderful and mystical about live music.
I know they played all the songs we expected to hear, "Lonely Boy", "Gold on the Ceiling" and "Money Maker", plus an old cover from 2002's The Big Come Up and pretty much everything in between. I had two favorite moments of the night. The first was when they played a cover of Edwyn Collins' "Girl Like You", which used to be the ringtone my Husband used for me, so that was pretty awesome. The second was the absolutely perfect "Little Black Submarines". It started out with Dan playing the quiet, acoustic, complex guitar part. Then the haunting vocals came in and the crowd knew every single word. The song builds slightly in the middle, with a bit of drums being added in. Then, for the last 1/3 of the song, it absolutely explodes in a cloud of raw, powerful rock. It was amazing.
It was a great show. Both Dan and Patrick are amazing musicians and it was totally worth the wait to get down front where we could really watch them at their craft. Even the crowd was relatively well-behaved (only 2 people got thrown out that we saw). I still don't prefer arena shows, but if I'm going to go to one, I want it to be exactly like this.