Black Keys set standard with garage blues freakout at Madison Theater

The Black Keys

Madison Theater

Covington, Kentucky

November 16, 2006

Akron, Ohio's finest, The Black Keys, took their brawling blues fest down to Covington, Kentucky's Madison Theater on November 16 for an evening of gritty garage band rock and gently echoing ballads.  Touring behind their major label release, Magic Potion on Nonesuch Records, The Black Keys took full advantage of the new material, layering it in behind past breakthroughs from their 2003 recording, Thickfreakness.


Ripping through Magic Potion's "Your Touch," the two Keys, Patrick Carney on drums and Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals, tied together their love of raw, stripped down blues with uncanny timing and a natural disposition for playing to each other's strengths.  Diverting from the Madison patrons' screams for more of the same, Carney and Auerbach instead opted for a lovingly rendered ballad in true 1950's surf guitar style, the shimmering and powerful, "You're the One."  From there, it was back to business as usual with a flair for the dramatic as evidenced on the whisper to a scream marvel, "Just a Little Heat."


And, the Thickfreakness enthusiasts were pleased as the band launched into the 747-styled, edgy takeoff of the title track from the seminal 2003 album.  Whether he was reveling in the sheer abandon of Magic Potion's "Strange Desire" or backing into the shadowy backdrop of entrenched feedback and distortion on "Modern Times," Dan Auerbach pursued scarifying leads on guitar like a man possessed on the killing trail.  Carney anchored the base rhythm on skins, powering through "Just Got to be Your Touch," and providing the Kentucky faithful with a forceful percussion clinic that transcended the night's party-like atmosphere.


The Black Keys at Madison Theater on November 16 was a dizzying, multi tiered bravura performance for both Carney and Auerbach that set the standard for future practitioners of the blues based rock formula.