The Black Keys Sell Out (TD Garden, that is)

By Ben Brondsky, MUSE Contributor

Say what you want about a band “selling out”, but The Black Keys have the world in their hands, evident from the Rolling Stone cover they had a few months ago to hearing their songs all over commercials and TV shows. If you haven’t heard of The Black Keys by now you’re living under a rock.

The Akron, Ohio duo rocked the TD Garden Wednesday night with a mind-blowing set spanning over an hour and a half. With two behemoth men squishing me, I witnessed the Keys along with their opening act, the Arctic Monkeys.

As a big act of their own in the UK, the Arctic Monkeys were able to draw in the still-arriving crowd. They played songs from each of their four albums, with the crowd especially favoring songs from their first, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (the fastest selling British debut album ever). The band mixed snotty, coming-of-age lyrics with layered guitars and explosive drumming.

After an hour-long set from the Arctic Monkeys, The Keys didn’t disappoint. Although they have previously toured as a duo with Patrick Carney on drums and Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals, they brought in two backup members to help on the keyboard and bass. The first few songs were played as a quartet and mostly borrowed from their latest album, El Camino.

After those few songs however, the touring members left, leaving Auerbach and Carney to command the stage. They played older songs and it seemed this was when the crowd, as well as the Keys, really got into the concert. Auerbach let loose and jumped all around while shredding the guitar as Carney pounded away the beat. The duo had formidable chemistry and even when Auerbach would jam and extend the song, Carney stayed right with him.

Throughout the concert, Auerbach continued to talk to the sold-out crowd between songs and thank them for attending. When the backup members returned, The Keys continued to play songs from all of their seven albums, including crowd favorites “10 Cent Pistol,” “Strange Times,” and “Tighten Up”. The band had multiple strobe and revolving-colored lights along with short films projected onto the screen behind them. There were also cameras at times that showed the duo playing on the big screen in real time, filtered with color schemes to match the light show.

The set lasted over an hour before the encore. As the packed-in crowd waited, their enthusiasm and cheering was seemingly ceaseless until The Black Keys came back for a three-song encore which included two huge disco balls that dropped from the ceiling.

The last song they played, “I Got Mine” off of 2008’s Attack & Release, was just the two of them again and proved to be one of their best songs of the night. Even after an hour and a half, they both still had an incredible amount of energy. Auerbach and Carney are both masters at their craft and put on a mesmerizing live show.


Watch the video for the new single, “Gold on the Ceiling” below:




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