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Concert Review: Black Keys, The

Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, Toronto - August 4, 2012
By Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency


TORONTO - There it was, the one word on the T-shirt worn by The Black Keys’ singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach that perfectly summed up the band’s electrifying show on Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

“Triumph,” it said.

And so, once again, the Akron, Ohio-bred blues-soul-psych-rock duo, rounded out by pounding drummer Patrick Carney, came to Toronto and conquered.

They were just here in March at the Air Canada Centre with British rockers Arctic Monkeys opening but on Saturday night it was the less bombastic, more experimental if still equally respected Portland-based indie rockers The Shins.

It was, however, a night to celebrate good old rock n’ roll delivered to perfection and with plenty of style by The Black Keys.

Even the dark skies above the lakeside shed opened up and came alive with lightning, pouring rain on those poor souls on the lawns, as if on command by the band, helping to cut through the swampy, sweaty temperatures and adding to the exciting rock show unfolding on stage.


In fact, the entire night had a slightly post-apocalyptic feel with Lakeshore Boulevard closed, Caribana crowds still walking around where cars should have been, and the eerie feeling of a storm approaching.

The Black Keys opened with the barnburner, Howlin’ For You, from their 2010 breakthrough disc, Brothers, and never really let up for the next hour and 25 minutes, showing off their musicianship and really feeling the music.

They pulled no punches on such standouts as the harder-edged Same Old Thing, Thickfreakness, and I Got Mine; a trio of fun dance songs from their 2011 album, El Camino, Dead and Gone, Gold On The Ceiling and Lonely Boy, and the sexy, soulful Girl Is On My Mind, I’ll Be Your Man, Your Touch, Ten Cent Pistol and Tighten Up.

And when they trotted out the epic acoustic-then-electric El Camino number, Little Black Submarines, they recalled both Jethro Tull and Jimi Hendrix.

How is this possible?

Then a giant disco ball descended before a three song encore which kicked off with Everlasting Light -prompting a crowd clap-a-long - and it seemed like the perfect sweet and fluffy icing on a really rich cake.

It’s always hard to believe that just two people, often backed by bassist Gus Seyffert and keyboardist John Wood, can make such a glorious-sounding racket but they can and do.

“Come on, let’s get moving,” said Auerbach, off the top and he seemed to be talking as much to himself and Carney as the audience.

Turned out there was no need for a pep talk, this duo only has one speed and that’s fully switched on, committing to each other and each and every song, and then projecting that chemistry outwards.

The connection between the band and the fans was palpable.

“We love coming here,” said Auerbach towards the end of the night.

And we love having you.

SET LIST:

Howlin’ for You

Next Girl

Run Right Back

Same Old Thing

Dead and Gone

Gold on the Ceiling

Thickfreakness

Girl Is on My Mind

I’ll Be Your Man

Your Touch

Little Black Submarines

Money Maker

Strange Times

Nova Baby

Ten Cent Pistol

Tighten Up

Lonely Boy

ENCORE:

Everlasting Light

She’s Long Gone

I Got Mine

 


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