Black Keys at the Barclays

Kaitlin Mahar

On Wed, Sept. 24, Assistant Editor Elissa Sanci and I went to see the Indie Rock duo The Black Keys of Akron, Ohio with opening Alternative Rock band Cage the Elephant of Bowling Green, Ky. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Ny (Photo by Elissa Sanci/Charger Bulletin)

As a longtime fan of both acts performing on The Black Keys’ Turn Blue tour, I had high hopes for the show, and was far from disappointed. On first came Cage the Elephant, who kept the audience pumped up throughout their set, which included older hits, such as “Back Against the Wall” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” both from the band’s self-titled album of 2008, as well as hit single “Come a Little Closer,” off their most recent album, Melophobia. The high-energy antics of frontman Matt Shultz, which included spastic dance moves, crowd surfing, and stage diving, didn’t hurt either.

Given the relatively somber tone of The Black Keys’ latest album, Turn Blue, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show other than knowing the band’s reputation for being fantastic live. Fueled by a brutal divorce between Dan Auerbach and now ex-wife Stephanie Gonis, Turn Blue serves as a musical time stamp to commemorate the grueling and emotionally draining year Auerbach endured.

However, the band kept their set upbeat with popular hits like “Tighten Up,” off the 2010 album Brothers, “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling,” from their 2011 album El Camino, along with newer tracks off their 2014 album, Turn Blue, which includes their latest single “Fever.” After an 18-song set, the Black Keys returned to the stage for a three-song encore, during which they sang  “Turn Blue,” “Weight of Love,” both of which are from their latest album, and “Little Black Submarines” from El Camino.

My favorite song of the set, however, was definitely The Black Keys’ cover of Edwyn Collins’ 1995 single “Girl Like You.” Auerbach’s vocals and guitar riffs during the song added a haunting, James Bond-esque vibe to the already soulful hit, while Pat Carney’s intensely skillful drumming gave the song a modern rock and roll twist.

Overall, the energy and passion of both The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant filled the stadium, from the pit to the nosebleeds, and there was not a moment the crowd wasn’t on it’s feet. If I had to make one complaint, I’d have to say that I wish the show had lasted longer.