Saw the Black Keys on Friday night. The Keys come with an impressive live reputation, and that's what tipped me into going to see them. However, my friend L, who lives in Queensland, saw them play the week before and wasn't impressed. She had gone to rock, and got long extended blues like versions of the songs, accordingly. Plus, there were a few other issues with the venue that pissed her off. You can usually trust L's opinion on this kind of thing as she's queen of the music nazis and has fine taste, and I was certainly a bit baffled when I got to the Metro and found a barrier at the front of the floor. No shit. A barrier. The metro isn't what you would call a barrier venue, so D and I spent some time trying to figure out why there was a fucking barrier. It was our theory that the Black Keys had decided that they were a superior band and that, with superior band thinking, comes a barrier. D said, "It's kind of arrogant, really. This better be a good show."
Well, it was a good show, but it wasn't barrier worthy. I didn't feel the urge to leap on stage and, I dunno, rape the band. Of course, the truth of the barrier was that the Black Keys were filming the gig, and the barrier was there to allow the camera men to run around and film them. This presented its own problem to the gig, which was that the band played more to the cameras than to the audience. Of course, when I say band, I mean singer and guitarist, Dan Auerbach, played to the cameras. Since the Black Keys are two guys, drummer Patrick Carney is locked in a huge drum kit for the show, and like most drummers, is kind of uninteresting to watch after fifteen minutes. The reason most drummers are at the back of the stage is because they sit and hit things. It's visually uninteresting.
Which is, really, the problem with the Black Keys. While they put on a good gig, I found them visually uninteresting. I just didn't get anything out of the show that I couldn't have got while listening to the albums. Not that there's a problem with that, I guess.
However, the highlight of the night was the opening act, 67 Special.
Fucking hell, but they're fantastic. Pure geek rock and roll, a band waiting for drugs and girls to come and send them spiralling into rehab centres. Before I went, I wasn't aware of the band, but after, I left with a strong imprint, and a full recommendation for them. There's nothing but energy from the band on stage and it's focused through frontman Ash Santilla. The photos I've got below are picked to show that. I've got some without blur, without the red heat look, but fuck it, that blur and red heat, that's the band pounding across the stage, snapping guitar strings and howling into microphones.
You want to see 67 Special. Once the strong stage impression has worn off, I'm looking for an album or EP or whatever.