The Black Keys

Live (Fat Possum)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

The Black Keys

Live (Fat Possum)

Back when the blues was only for whiskey-drinking gee-tar players with Mississippi ZIP codes, the Black Keys were a tiny dynamic duo without a name. They started out in Akron, Ohio, and have dropped three great albums, gaining recognition with 2003's Thickfreakness and continuing with last year's Rubber Factory. Dan Auerbach carries his guitar like a blind Buddy Guy and sings like Muddy Waters with a megaphone in his mouth as lanky Patrick Carney slaps snares like he were in Fugazi. Australians welcome them for their terrific first DVD, The Black Keys Live, recorded earlier this year at a theatre in Sydney where before this concert the only people who used the blues were sociology students for dissertations. Seventeen songs of blistered classicist riffs and filthy drums slurring like a drunk Max Roach in New Orleans (RIP). Two lanky white dudes with enough soul to start a chapter of the NAACP crank out the goods like the syrupy "Thickfreakness." Similar to a pissed-off White Stripes or locals Chili Cold Blood, BK calculate freak-outs from three chords. With a sparse backdrop and a sold-out crowd in front of them, songs like "10 A.M. Automatic" with its fidgety drums and the noisy chocolate rhythm of "Have Love Will Travel" sound larger than studios will allow. Hair flies, lights cut across sweaty drums, and the rusty vocals of Auerbach fill the theatre as Australians give love to the lasting philosophy of the blues. (Sunday, 7:45pm, Heineken stage)

***.5

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