Review and photos by Bill Bungard
Garage rock is a live and well. With full anticipation, fans who filled the Tacoma Dome on Nov. 23 – many of whom started as the Black Keys underground following – watched as Patrick Carney crossed the stage and sat behind his simple kit and Dan Auerbach picked up a guitar and stood in front of a stack of vintage amplifiers. The show started out with a hard driving hit “I Got Mine.”
The chemistry of Dan and Pat create a musical magic of simple/raw garage rock steeped deeply in blues roots. Patrick driving out beats on his small but powerful kit melded with Dan’s distorted guitar playing and soulful vocals. The complexity of this band is in its compositions that grab the spine of fans and innately makes them tap their feet and sway. Unlike many bands of today where the music is too polished with many of the songs sounding similar, the Black Keys’ diversity of music takes you for a rock ride with pure rock/blues roots. Essentially a two-piece band, even though in the background were two backing guitarist and a bassist, there is no question that “the two” is where it come from.
Black Keys started in 2001 but caught a second wave in 2010 when they won three Grammy Awards for “Tighten Up” and won three more in 2014 with “Lonely Boy.” Now they’re back on tour with their 2019 release of their ninth album, “Let’s Rock,” for the “Let’s Rock” tour.
The band drove home popular hits as well as fan favorites. Garage rock, blues rock, indie rock are all just labels, but the delivery and experience of a Black Keys show supersedes the genres – just great music created by two starting in basements of Akron, Ohio and self producing records until they developed a following of thirsty fans.