Two quirky guys from Akron with a penchant for gritty blues rock and roll- It’s how I have thought of The Black Keys for the better part of a decade since I found out that Dan Auerbach wasn’t a soulful black man. Never would I have pictured this little duo-cum-quartet headlining an arena show. Yet I found myself stepping onto the main floor of the Key Arena in Lower Queen Anne under the Space Needle right as the first notes of “Howlin’ For You” roared through the expanse.
In all honesty, I was prepared to be disappointed. I didn’t want to think that this band, a favorite of mine for so long, would so easily slip into the large venue scene. It’s not that I didn’t want for them to succeed; far from it. It’s simply that I long for the intimacy of the small venues, theaters and bars they packed in years past.
With El Camino, a new era of Black Keys was ushered in though. Evolving into a larger band, adopting what Auerbach has done with his solo project into their own, epic songs like “Little Black Submarines” would feel hollow without the bass and second guitar to fill things out. Yet, true to their roots, they dismissed their “extra” band mates, leaving Patrick and Dan to do what they do best. Watch their latest music video from El Camino below:
Giving a nod to the influence given them by Tacoma’s own original garage rock band, The Sonics, the boys from Akron played a spectrum of songs from their entire catalog. While there was nary a lull through the entire set, highlights included “Your Touch,” and “Ten Cent Pistol,” though if I had to choose a favorite, I’d have to go with “Tighten Up.”
Howling at the stage as if an encore weren’t inevitable, the crowd was treated to three final songs, capping out a spectacular set. If I was skeptical going in, I walked out elated and yearning for more. As we strolled home, our little group sang songs and yammered incessantly about the experience. Cheers, FYM.