THE BLACK Keys are one of those enviable power duos who can muster a sound like a seven nation army should they so wish.
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But they were taking no chances on their first arena tour – a massive leap in scale made possible by the commercial horsepower of their brilliant Danger Mouse-produced album El Camino – hiring additional muscle in the form of a bassist and keyboard player, who were invited to lurk at the back beside the huge floodlights to beef up an already mighty sound.
Like The White Stripes, The Black Keys are respectful of their forebears but playful with tradition at the same time.
Their older material comprised powerful but pretty retro Zep-indebted blues garage rock which proved a little too introverted for this space, but their new songs were a blast, with frontman Dan Auerbach unleashing his soulful falsetto and effects pedals in an audacious but resolutely non-flashy display of pop chops, while drummer Patrick Carney, a man who would not look good in glitter and a Bowie-style knitted playsuit, laid down the glam rock rhythms.
It was invigorating to witness how this band have now developed into their own thing, with particular fan frenzy reserved for the rootsy rock-out gear change in soulful country ballad Little Black Submarines and the fuzz keyboard hook of Gold On The Ceiling.
But they still have some way to go in translating these songs into a charismatic performance which can fill such a vast hall.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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