Wednesday, 13 July 2011
The Black Keys @ the JLC
Last night, the John Labatt Centre invited* me, Laura, Naomi, and Mike to check out the Black Keys concert as JLC Reviewers. We got great seats, some parting gifts, and a cool experience courtesy of the JLC and FM 96.
Cage the Elephant opened the show. I like Cage the Elephant well enough, but the whole ‘Careful or I Might Commit Suicide’ performance vibe isn’t really my thing. That being said, they are really good at what they do—it was a solid performance from the entire band. Plus, the lead singer pulled some crazy crowd-surfing antics that were pretty cool. Even though it’s not something I’d normally be very into, they really put on a good performance.
The Black Keys were definitely what I was really excited to see, though. I mentioned to the other reviewers that The Black Keys is real ‘cream your pants’ music. Their songs have awesome almost funk-ish grooves, and it’s just a very sexy sound. I honestly wasn’t convinced that they’d be able to pull off the same sound live. They completely did!
They began and ended the set with just the two of them—Pat the drummer and Dan the guitarist—and in the middle, they did some of their newer stuff with a full band. I was really impressed with how well they did as a two-piece, delivering a technically solid performance and still keeping the audience well entertained and engaged. The full band was great, too, and seeing the difference gives you an appreciation for how their music has evolved while still remaining true to their sound. Beginning to end, it was just a great, tight performance.
There were a few extra cool moments musically speaking, mostly courtesy of Pat’s insanely over-developed drum skills. And there were also some pretty cool light shows including my favourite during Everlasting Light, which happens to be one of my favourite songs, too. My photo doesn’t do it justice at all:
The only thing I didn’t like about it was the same thing I don’t like about any concert. I’m sick of playing encore. We all know that unless you’re Bob Dylan, you’re going to play two or three more songs. Most of us probably checked your set lists and even have a pretty good idea what they’re going to be. Just play them. I know I should enjoy the experience of the shouting and chanting and excitement over the feigned shock of the band’s return, but I just think it’s a lot of ego-whoring. The giant Black Keys marquee blinking at us like an applause sign until we all chanted in unison kinda hit my pet peeve nerve on that.
Other than that, though, they seemed like very cool, humble, fun guys just having a good time doing what they love, which is exactly what I like to see!
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* If you’d like to be a JLC Reviewer someday, follow them on Twitter so you can find out next time they’re looking for someone. We were the first, so you’ll never be as cool as us, but the ‘distant second’ spot has not yet been filled. You might also want to follow FM96 because they’re pretty awesome people to win stuff from, too!