The Black Keys
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas
December 30, 2012
It was pretty obvious that theThe Black Keys were in a league of their own this year. Some of the highlights of their year include a top slot at Coachella, selling out the Madison Square Garden and numerous nights at Staples Center along with a stop at the Honda Center. In order to cap off their excellent year, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel were lucky enough to book The Black Keys for two nights as they prepare to say goodbye to 2012.
“Wow, you guys seem rowdy. That's a good sign”. Dan Auerbach dutifully addressed the buzz swarming throughout the Joint as they walked on stage. The pit immediately started to bounce upon hearing the searing overdriven tones of “Howlin' For You.” The Black Keys fired up their musical engines and never let up as they bulldozed the crowd with their high octane nitro boosted blues tinged rock.
Patrick Carney pounded away at his drum kit all night hammering out hits like “Next Girl” and “Run Right Back” as one of the drum microphones fell over due to his hard hitting drum beats. Rounding out their sound were Gus Seyffert and John Wood who added some colorful keyboards or some extra thumping bass lines. The most appropriate song of the evening was the glitzy “Gold On The Ceiling” which has probably been played in every Las Vegas strip club. Or so I hear.
Auerbach and Carney soon had the stage to themselves for a mini throwback set ripping thorough “Thickfreakness,” “Girl Is On My Mind” and “Your Touch.” It was impressive to see how Auerbach's huge, sizzling fuzz guitar lines carried the bulk of the songs. The band returned for a gripping version of “Little Black Submarines” as Auerbach gently strummed an acoustic guitar for the opening notes.
“Strange Times” was another highlight as the floating organ notes blended into the barnstorming guitar riff as Carney kept everyone locked together in time. The crowd clapped along amidst some more swirling keyboards for “Nova Baby” as the giant wall of light bulbs flickered behind them. Things really heated up with the earth shaking bass of “Tighten Up” amongst the gentle whistling melody.
Auerbach thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a happy new year before tearing into heart thumping beat of “Lonely Boy”. Walking off the stage for a quick breather, The Black Keys returned for the falsetto fueled “Everlasting Light” as a pair of disco balls illuminated the venue. Just when you thought the stage production couldn't get any bigger, a giant Black Keys sign flashed for “I Got Mine” as I could still hear Carney's cowbell ringing in my ears. It is going to be a good new year indeed.
Opening the evening were the Divine Fits who were the perfect sonic pairing as they whipped through a quick set of songs from their debut album A Thing Called Divine Fits. Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner traded off vocal duties for a sterling set with some of the highlights being “My Love Is Real” and “Would That Not Be Nice”. Hopefully we will see more of them in 2013.
Critical Bias: This was my fourth time seeing The Black Keys on this tour and it still rocks just as hard each time.
Crowd: Very enthusiastic and well heeled fans of The Black Keys with a sprinkling of casio high rollers who got in for free.
Overheard In The Crowd: Let's get another drink! Vegas folks know how to party.
Random Notebook Dump: Patrick Carney used to take off his glasses during the third song but the addition of a wind fan on stage enabled him to play the whole set bespectacled.
“Howlin' For You”
“Run Right Back”
“Same Old Thing”
“Dead And Gone”
“Gold On The Ceiling”
“Girl Is On My Mind”
“Little Black Submarines”
“Ten Cent Pistol”
“She's Long Gone”
“I Got Mine”