The Black Keys

Live Shots

Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

The Black Keys

Frank Erwin Center, April 25

Arenas suit the Black Keys, another unlikely feat for the onetime niche band on a big winning streak. In front of massive pop art projections, they broke out "Howlin' For You" and "Next Girl" off 2010's Brothers before hitting pay dirt in the heavy grooves of "Gold on the Ceiling." "We're gonna play a couple of songs, just the two of us," announced guitarist Dan Auerbach, sending the backing band offstage and launching into an accelerated version of "Thickfreakness," a song demonstrative of the Keys' unique qualities: Auerbach putting an unreal amount of energy into every simple lick and drummer Patrick Carney constantly elevating the songs with beat changes. It was enough to keep the sold-out house on its feet all night, even during the sedated, classic rock homage "Little Black Submarines," in which the auxiliary musicians segued back and ushered in a full-bodied finale that included "Lonely Boy" and a remarkably theatrical version of "Ten Cent Pistol" that they milked dry. For the obligatory encore, two giant disco balls lit up the Erwin Center as Auerbach nailed the falsetto on a transformative "Everlasting Light." The show ended with a small, plain banner that read "The Black Keys" descending from the rafters. It didn't look like much until 100 light bulbs began flashing to the music with glorious effect. That's the twopiece blues band from Ohio: musical grandeur from minimalism.

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