This past weekend, the Black Keys played the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park. Despite playing for less than an hour, the band was excellent. Our photographer Marcello Ambriz had a pretty nifty all access pass and provided us with some superb photos of the band backstage before their set as well as of their performance. Check out the photos below:
Last night, Neil Young with Crazy Horse headlined the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park. When it came time for the band to close the show with Young’s “Kep On Rockin’ In The Free World,” they’d welcome all of the performers from earlier in the night: Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band of Horses and K’naan. Watch the video below and head over to globalcitizen.org to find out how you can help support gender equality, primary education, environmental sustainability all throughout the world.
By Matt Arena
Drawing the festival to a close, Sunday at Firefly Festival’s inaugural weekend did so in a spectacular fashion. With bands that ranged from unstoppable dancing machines to more relaxed indie acts, there’s no doubt that the final day had a little something for everybody.
Putting themselves in the self described genre of “disco dust” (more of a parody on the recent obsession of band’s having to categorize their sound), Reptar are anything but your average band. Their quickly growing reputation as one of the most energetic live acts precedes them, and having recently just seen them on tour with Grouplove, it’s a worthy title. But their Firefly set was on another level. Playing an early 1:00pm slot and with the sun on their side, a rarity over the course of the weekend, they definitely played one of the wildest sets of the day. Right out of the gate guitarist Jace Bartet came out dancing like a man possessed, as we would later learn he pulls the ferocious dancing power from his cutoff camouflage shorts. Add to that lead singer Graham Ulicny’s penchant for never staying in one place for more than five seconds, and it’s pretty easy to see how the crowd could become so enraptured with the band. Much like my first introduction to the band, many were there simply because of Reptar’s reputation and recent tour with fellow Firefly artists Grouplove. No more than 2 minutes into the set and almost the entirely of the crowd was dancing and jumping just as crazily as the band on stage. The set comprised mostly of songs off the band’s debut album, ‘Body Faucet,’ the pop-rock-Caribbean-indie genre bending mash-up of sounds came off incredibly well. It’s no wonder the band classifies themselves as “disco dust,” it’s really the only thing that makes sense after seeing a Reptar show. Tracks like ‘Sebastian’ and especially ‘Please Don’t Kill Me,’ as the frenzied island-rock drumming all but forced the crowd to move their feet. During any given Reptar song it seems as if there are a thousand different things occurring on-stage, so all you can really do is just brace yourself and allow the music to take you. Definitely living up to their ever-growing reputation as one of the most energetic live bands, the only thing on anyone’s mind after a Reptar set is this; disco dust. See them and it’ll make sense to you too.
Up immediately after Reptar was Red Bull Records pioneers, AWOLNATION. Being the main driving force behind the energy drink’s new venture into the music industry, they’ve grown pretty rapidly since the release of their debut album Megalithic Symphony a little over a year ago. Their unique blend of electronic rock, a refreshing true blend of the two styles, and their ability to put on an amazing live show has helped them establish a strong enough fan base to have headlined multiple tours already. Lead singer Aaron Bruno has made it a festival set regular to crowd surf toward the end of the set. Quite literally. As in he actually gets on a surfboard, balances himself, and surfs above the supporting arms of the crowd. His raspy, growling vocal style sounds great on record and surprisingly is even stronger on stage. Bruno’s really able to showcase this on ‘Sail,’ one of the band’s biggest and best songs. Making multiple trips into the crowd, allowing them to scream the “blame in on my A.D.D.” line (which is possibly the best scream-along line EVER) into the mic, there’s a real connection between AWOLNATION and the crowd. From the first song encouraging them to crowd surf, it’s pretty clear that they’re not the type of band you sway and nod your head to. It’s is an incredibly refreshing thing to see when so many new bands try so hard to live up to the “indie” label, afraid to show emotion on stage and consequently fail to illicit anything but a slow head bob from the crowd. Not so with AWOLNATION.
COLD WAR KIDS
When you first look at Cold War Kids, you probably don’t expect to hear a sound that’s as much soul as it is indie rock. In short, they take a lot of people by surprise. Or maybe “took” is the operative word. Having blown up since their very first album, Cold War Kids quickly became a household name on the alt-rock scene. Landing them on the main stage at Firefly for a midday set, they garnered a pretty large crowd who seemed to love every minute of the band’s hour-plus set. Though the sound mixing was a bit low, making it hard for lead singer Nathan Willett’s powerful voice to really shine, the band still performed great. Willett’s staggeringly strong vocals and the poppy drumming of Matt Aveiro are the backbone of what makes their music so good, and that definitely applies to the live show. Songs like ‘Rubidoux’ and ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’ received huge reactions for the crowd, which reached farther back than it had for anyone on that stage thus far. Though it wasn’t the type of set that drove the crowd into a jumping frenzy, they without a doubt enjoyed Cold War Kids as they left to a cheer that lingered far after they had exited the stage.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
Though not touring at the moment, Firefly was still able to procure indie juggernauts Death Cab for Cutie. Opening with the full 8+ minute version of ‘I Will Possess Your Heart,’ the band showcased a set comprised of mostly deep cuts. As a fan of Death Cab for a while now, it was great to see them dig into their catalogue and play songs that might not to familiar to casual fans. Especially at a festival, where the crowds tend to be a bit causal as opposed to headlining gigs. Battling a cold, lead singer Ben Gibbard didn’t seem to be slowed down at all, spending his time between vocal, guitar, piano, and even drum duties. The material from last year’s Codes and Keys sounded great, with songs like ‘You Are a Tourist’ growing much heavier and bolder than they sound on album. One would think that Death Cab for Cutie would be a pretty reserved act, the one you sit back and watch instead of really getting into, but they’re a different band live. The bass lines of Nick Harmer were much more evident as he plays an integral part of the ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ extended intro, which is pretty much all Harmer plugging along the instantly recognizable notes. Long-time fans of the band were treated from tracks as far back as their very first album. ‘Amputations,’ ‘A Movie Script Ending,’ and ‘Marching Bands of Manhattan’ are all rarities for the band, and ones they’ve made an effort of not forgetting. With seven total albums, it’s impressive to see them not abandon the older tracks as to not alienate casual fans, something that bands of their caliber tend to do. The major highlight of the set was ‘We Looked Like Giants.’ Not only a fantastic (and rare) song in it’s own right, they extended it with a 10 minute long interlude that sees Gibbard take up drumming duties on a special mini-kit brought out just for this song. It shows the confidence Death Cab has in the abnormal nature of their live element. Most bands would shy away from material 7 seven albums ago and wouldn’t dare play two outros that combine over 15 minutes in length. It’s what makes Death Cab for Cutie such a great live band. They craft a set that isn’t comprised of all hits, even though they did make sure to pack a few in there, and aren’t afraid to get a little weird. It’s hard to walk away from a set like this unimpressed and there’s no way anyone at Firefly could have been anything but blown away with what Death Cab for Cutie did on the main stage.
THE FLAMING LIPS
Having never seen The Flaming Lips before, they’ve got quite the reputation preceding them. Known for the effort they put into production behind their shows, and not just complicated lighting rigs and visuals (though they did have a giant circular screen behind them), but by far less common means. Starting off with a Wizard of Oz-esque mob of Dorothy’s and Scarecrow’s on each side of the stage, it was clear that they would be anything but droll. During their first song, ‘Race for the Prize,’ they were shooting confetti for what felt like the entirety of the song. Seriously. There wasn’t a moment during the first 10 minutes where confetti wasn’t falling from the sky. Not only looking incredibly cool, there’s nothing that makes a crowd yell louder than shooting out confetti. In addition to the individual hand cannons they each had on stage, two crewmembers had massive tubes firing out fog and confetti, creating a rainbow colored haze. Add to that the spectrum of colors on the giant circular lighting rig/screen behind them and it felt more like a Tim Burton movie than a festival set. Lead singer Wayne Coyne then whipped out a megaphone, one would assume it would be used for vocals on a song, but that’s boring to The Flaming Lips. A heavy blue smoke starting pouring out of the megaphone as Coyne traipsed about the stage, creating a trail of permeating blue behind him. The trippy visual element aside, they sounded great as well. When a band has been around since 1986 with over 10 albums, it’s easy to just mail it in and play without much heart. This is the exact opposite description of The Flaming Lips. If anything they try harder than most bands half their age with twice their energy, and it shows. Right before ‘Is David Bowie Dying??,’ Wayne Coyne showed off his very unique take on crowd surfing. Inflating and then stepping inside a massive, transparent ball, he was rolled onto the barrier and them went end over end as hundreds of arms rolled him throughout the crowd. It was a live spectacle unlike any other. There are bands that spend millions of dollars on elaborate stage designs with lasers and complicated visuals, but Flaming Lips out-shined all of them with a much more creative take on their production. All other bands take note, if you want to be trippy, you’re not going to do it better than The Flaming Lips.
THE BLACK KEYS
Unless you’ve been living under a soundproof rock for the past 2 years, you know who The Black Keys are. Having been around since 2001, they finally broke through to massive mainstream success, topped off by two sold out nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden. This is an impressive feat for any band, but especially one like The Black Keys who don’t first hit you as an arena rock band. It goes to show exactly how popular they’ve become. Headlining arenas and now closing out festivals, the jam-packed crowd was proof of why the band is on such high profile live slots. Opening with ‘Howlin for You,’ they set the tone early, grabbing the crowd immediately with such a big hit so early. The modern dirty blues style refined (and some could say pioneered) by The Black Keys transfers live quite well, especially so at a festival setting. One might think at first that a two man band may seem a bit over their head on such a large stage, but if anything they used it to their advantage. It helped adding two touring members to beef up their sound, but the sheer presence they have on stage is undeniable. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have chemistry that’s beyond refined, at times it just seems like they’re going along with totally improvised jams and showed off how naturally loose they are on stage. The perfect choice to end the three day festival, The Black Keys arguably had the best well received set of the entire weekend and had a trail of cheers echoing as they left the stage.
Head over to FireFlyFestival.com for info on next year’s festival!
COLD WAR KIDS
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
THE FLAMING LIPS
We’re not sure what the current radio single is for The Black Keys but they’re giving their hit “Gold On The Ceiling” another push with a second video. The clip is directed by Harmony Korine who you probably know best from his movie Kids. Is the video as controversial as the movie? Nope but it’s an interesting spin on twins (they really need to remake the movie Twins.. anyways).
Watch the new “Gold on the Ceiling” below and feel free to compare it to the original
Austin City Limits Music Festival has announced its lineup for the 2012 edition of the festival. Set to headline this year’s lineup: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys and Jack White. Three day tickets and single day passes are still on-sale for the festival for the festival set for October 12th through the 14th. Pick them up here while they last.
Check out the full lineup below:
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys
Jack White, Florence + The Machine, The Avett Brothers, Iggy & The Stooges, AVICII, BASSNECTAR, The Roots, The Shins, Weezer, Gotye, The Civil Wars, M83, Tegan and Sara, Childish Gambino Two Door Cinema Club, Thievery Corporation, The Afghan Whigs, Crystal Castles, Andrew Bird, Gary Clark Jr., Metric, Band of Skulls, Esperanza Spalding, Alabama Shakes, Delta Spirit, M. Ward, Randy Rogers Band, Die Antwoord, Rufus Wainwright, NEEDTOBREATHE, Big Gigantic, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Steve Earle, The War On Drugs, Umphrey’s McGee, Barrington Levy, Old 97′s Punch Brothers, Bombay Bicycle Club, A-Trak, Trampled by Turtles Patterson Hood, Michael Kiwanuka, Big K.R.I.T., Oberhofer, POLICA, Tennis, Zola Jesus, Stars, Kimbra, Black Lips, Los Campesinos!, Jovanotti, Ben Howard, Ruthie Foster, Freelance Whales, Civil Twilight, The Whigs, Dev, The Lumineers, Bad Books, The Devil Makes Three, Asleep at the Wheel, First Aid Kit Patrick Watson, LP, Caveman, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Father John Misty The Wombats, Dry the River, The Boxer Rebellion, Soul Rebels Brass Band Thundercat, Willis Earl Beal, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Kishi Bashi, Deep Dark Woods, Moon Duo, Kopecky Family Band, River City Extension Quiet Corral, Wheeler Brothers, The Relatives, Space Capone, The Staves Native Run, Nikki Lane, Quiet Company, Infantree, Wild Child, La Vida Bohème The Eastern Sea, The Dunwells, Kenny Vaughan Trio, Justin Jones, Sonámbulo Royal Teeth, Noah Gunderson, The Aaron Ivey Band, The Mighty Sincere Voices G.S.T., Colorfeels, Lera Lynn, Megan McCormick, Shields of Faith, Stapletones, The Baylor Choir, Disciples of Joy, Ralph’s World, Orange Sherbet, Big Don Rocknoceros, Hullabaloo, Jambo, Peter DiStefano & Tor, The School of Rock, The Q Brothers
The Black Keys are on the second leg of their North American tour in support of their album El Camino. The band played the Frank Erwin Center in Austin last night. Our photographer Phil DeSimone was there to get some great shots of Dan and Patrick. Check them out below and head over to www.theblackkeys.com for more tour dates.
Chef Anthony Bourdain featured the Black Keys in a segment on the newest airing of his show “No Reservations.” The last time we saw Bourdain with a musician, he was chilling with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and friends. This time around, Bourdain would enjoy some fine barbecue with the boys from Akron as they discussed working crappy jobs in kitchen, touring and more.
Watch the video below:
When The Black Keys announced they would be headlining arenas for their tour in support of ‘El Camino’, there was a significant amount of backlash from the music community who insisted the band “wasn’t ready” or “big enough” to be playing such large venues. And then something happened that silenced every critic. They sold out their Madison Square Garden show in 15 minutes. So they put another show on sale for Madison Square Garden, and that one sold out too. Indeed, this was a band that was big enough to be playing arenas and headlining festivals, despite their longtime fans wanting to still seem them in large clubs.
Supporting The Black Keys on this arena tour are Arctic Monkeys, an English rock band who’ve been around for nearly as long as their tour mates. However, the band sounds so great live, and their set time is so generous (they played for an hour at Madison Square Garden) that it almost gives off the vibe of a coheadlining tour rather than Arctic Monkeys supporting The Black Keys. Indeed, rather than the empty arena you typically see during an opening band, the venue was filled about 75% of the way by the time Arctic Monkeys went on, and packed by the time they ended their set. The band crammed 16 songs into their energetic set and they definitely had some big fans in the audience, especially in the front of the general admission area, as there was a group of fans bouncing up and down during their entire set. That’s not to say everyone was moving around, and most of the arena were motionless during their set (though to be fair, The Black Keys had hardly any people moving either). Frontman Alex Turner wasn’t quite enthralled with the reaction they got when they asked the crowd to clap their hands towards the end of the set and remarked “C’mon Madison Square Garden! Clap your hands! Don’t be a dick about it!” The band touched upon all four of their studio albums and even included the new single ‘R U Mine?’ to close out the set on a high note.
As I said before, for whatever reason (maybe it’s all the new fans) the crowd for this show was insanely tame though when The Black Keys took to the stage with the one-two punch of ‘Howlin’ for You’ and ‘Next Girl’, there wasn’t a seated person in all of the arena, at least that I could see. Dan Auerbach (vocals and guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) were augmented by two touring members for most of the performance, and while they did an excellent job of more accurately recreating the newer, more technically advanced material, I’d be lying if I said the highlight of the set was the portion where they left the duo to themselves. The whole appeal of The Black Keys has always been listening to two people create as much noise as they can, and the addition of bass and keyboards definitely took away from Carney’s expert drumming.
That said, maybe I’m just one of those bitter old fans that would prefer to see the band in a club again. Maybe I am holding on too much to the last time I saw the band, right after the release of ‘Brothers’ when they played to 200 people tops for a Microsoft phone event in an antique car dealership. This four piece is very much The Black Keys now, as it doesn’t appear that Carney and Auerbach would abandon the very thing that’s made them so successful. They didn’t, however, forget about the people that have been fans longer than the last couple of records and were sure to include cuts from every studio album, despite how focused they were on playing newer material.
These aforementioned older tracks, including ‘Strange Times’, ‘I’ll Be Your Man’ and ‘Thickfreakness’ were some of the standouts of the night. Towards the end of their set, during ‘Ten Cent Pistol’, the band took an extended break in the middle of the song waiting for an applause up to their standards before continuing. Auerbach kept the banter short, though he did remark “It’s pretty wild that we’re playing here’ before launching into two of the bands biggest songs, ‘Tighten Up’ and the gigantic single ‘Lonely Boy’ to close out their main set. When the band returned for their obligatory encore, two massive disco balls were brought out for ‘Everlasting Light’ and ‘She’s Long Gone’ followed. To the band, there was really only one way this night could be ended – with a tongue in cheek performance of ‘I Got Mine’ featuring a giant “The Black Keys’ sign coming down from the ceiling. Indeed, one of the hardest working bands in rock and roll has finally got the fame that they deserve.
Arctic Monkeys’ setlist:
2. This House Is a Circus
3. Still Take You Home
4. Library Pictures
5. Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
6. The View from the Afternoon
7. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
8. Pretty Visitors
9. Teddy Picker
10. Crying Lightning
11. She’s Thunderstorms
12. Fluorescent Adolescent
13. If You Were There, Beware
14. Evil Twin
15. Brick by Brick
16. R U Mine?
The Black Keys’ setlist
1. Howlin’ for You
2. Next Girl
3. Run Right Back
4. Same Old Thing
5. Dead and Gone
6. Gold on the Ceiling
8. Girl Is On My Mind
9. I’ll Be Your Man
10. Your Touch
11. Little Black Submarines
12. Money Maker
13. Strange Times
14. Chop and Change
15. Nova Baby
16. Ten Cent Pistol
17. Tighten Up
18. Lonely Boy
19. Everlasting Light
20. She’s Long Gone
21. I Got Mine
The Black Keys will be hitting the road for the second leg of their North American tour in April, with special guests Arctic Monkeys. The newly announced shows include stops in Austin, St. Louis, Tulsa, Denver, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee. See below for all of the newly announced dates. Fan pre-sale for these dates will begin at 10 AM local time tomorrow, January 10, unless otherwise noted below. Details for the pre-sale will be posted on The Black Keys website, theblackkeys.com, by midnight tonight. Tickets for each show are limited and available on a first come first serve basis.
This follows the first leg of the tour, which includes shows in arenas like New York’s Madison Square Garden, Boston’s TD Garden, and Chicago’s United Center. For the complete tour listing, go to nonesuch.com/on-tour. The shows are in support of The Black Keys’ new album, El Camino, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts when it was release on Nonesuch Records last month. The band is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
El Camino is available in the Nonesuch Store, where CD and vinyl orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout. The album is also available to purchase there as MP3s and lossless FLAC files.
SECOND LEG OF THE BLACK KEYS’ NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
Apr 25 Frank Erwin Center Austin, TX
Apr 27 Chaifetz Arena St. Louis, MO
Apr 28 BOK Center Tulsa, OK
Apr 30 1stbank Center* Denver, CO
May 2 UT Maverick Center Salt Lake City, UT
May 4 Oracle Oakland, CA
May 5 Power Balance Pavilion Sacramento, CA
May 7 Rose Garden Portland, OR
May 8 Key Arena** Seattle, WA
May 9 Rogers Arena Vancouver, BC
May 11 Saddledome Calgary, AB
May 12 Rexall Edmonton, AB
May 14 MTS Centre Winnipeg, MB
May 15 Target Center Minneapolis, MN
May 16 Bradley Center Milwaukee, WI
* pre-sale for this show will begin January 17 at 10 AM local time
** on-sale and pre-sale dates for this show are TBD