The Black Keys – Europe Tour

“Reviews: Because nobody cares.”

I hope, if I ever quit my job, I will quickly forget how much I loved it. I know I’ll go cold turkey like a nympho in an Amish commune and have regrets for the rest of my little life, but I hope I won’t remember just how satisfying my work could be.

All the misery, all the cold, all the pain melted away when I saw The Black Keys on the concert agenda, and I thanked myself for all the hard work that put me in the core of the crew and among the first to get picked on smaller, but rewarding jobs. There aren’t many bands that I would still really want to see live (I can has Gogol Bordello please?) but the problem with cutting back on stagehand jobs in favor of a well-paid career as a technician is that more and more bands make it on the list.

Among them: The Black Keys. If you haven’t heard of them, I’m not going to bother to explain because clearly your grasp on relevant music is so loose, you probably can’t be bothered turning down your Aqua album.
And yes, despite their songs being played to death on the radio, I like them. It’s about time someone brought back the notion of garage and blues rock in today’s music business of tweets and boinks and hairdressing.

The production was surprisingly low-budget considering their album sales. Odd choices in lighting fixtures, small stage, smallish venue, and that one British asshole of a technician who must come very cheap because he treats the locals like shit and frankly, I’m not sure why he keeps coming back on various tours. They even hung up some disturbing weight on those unpractical and insanely dangerous Alp Lifts, which stood at an angle of a few degrees too many.

The result was quite stylish, though. Big halogen lights were used as decoration and those always work. Goes to show that you don’t need fireworks or even that disgusting confetti that creeps everywhere to have a good show.

Most of that show, of course, we have the Black Keys themselves to thank for. There’s only two of them so it was a complicated matter to fill the stage, but it’s hard not to put down a good act if you have liquid rock ‘n roll coursing through your veins. Even the songs that I didn’t know, which were surprisingly many, simply begged for at least a pleasant head bob and the songs that did sound familiar, even moved me to pull out my infamous little two-step dance behind the rows.

Then, the down sides. I can understand if it’s the first show of the tour but come on, these guys got big playing live, and just finished a tour in America. There’s no excuse for the blatant mistakes they made, the long, painful discussions between every two songs, and even having to start over once after fucking up the intro. It was endearing at first, and got distracting soon after.

Granted, a full hour and a half of the same genre, only sporadically alternated by a much needed “something different”, did get a little old. It’s always harder to care about songs unknown to me, and apparently I wasn’t as hardcore a fan as I thought I was. So sadly, I must admit that I spent most of the second half of the gig trying to eat caramel soufflé with a stirring stick in catering. Only when I got my task appointed (again with the British asshole) and I chugged my meal down straight from the cup, did I go to see the encores- Which finally gave me the feeling of being blown away.

Encores don’t make a show, so it kind of strands at a 3.5/5 rating. “Good.”


One response

  1. The second half of the set has songs from the 2nd album and forward. Seems to me you must only know Brothers and ElCamino then :). The band was something else before its 3 newest records and as a fan you should dive into that. Very Hendrix-like and very cool.

    26 January 2012 at 21:34

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