Live Review – The Black Keys – Birmingham NIA.

The Black Keys.

Just over a year to the day since the release of The Black Keys critically aclaimed album El Camino, the duo are set to embark upon the third date of their most ambitious UK tour so far.

The Maccabees drew in a larger crowd than the average support band, reeling through hypnotic material from their 2012 release Given To The Wild. Seemingly unfazed by the sheer scale of the event, the band opted to include more aggressive numbers such as X-Ray and Pelican which soon got the lanky Horror’s wannabe’s flailing about. One of The Maccabees biggest hits Toothpaste Kisses was left off the setlist which proved to be a suitable choice. It’s time to step up and put the wanky ballads for teenage girls sat in their bedrooms behind you right? The set was strong and tight, another solid album and who knows, they could be playing arena’s on their own merit.

The Black Keys opened with Howling For You, which for one of the bands strong anthems fell worryingly flat… it wasn’t until the ‘Da Da Da Da Da’s’ that we were reassured as the crowd finally hit their stride and got singing. Thank fuck. As expected tracks from El Camino flooded the set and they were welcomed with open arms, as it was clear that a vast amount of the crowd were present due to the success of last years release. Well rightly so…

The furious guitar work during Next Girl and Run Right Back bared many similarities to that of Jack White, with Dan Auerbach losing himself upon Patrick’s drum platform and hitting impromptu bouts of musical genius. Which of course the crowd relished. Maybe it’s just an American thing?

Little Black Submarines was always going to be thrown into the 20 track setlist wasn’t it?   Halfway through the set this was confirmed when the electric was switched for the steel acoustic, which soon echoed those light moody chords in turn placing the crowd somewhere deep in America.

Back for the encore… the NIA was in darkness, that was until a respectably large disco ball was lowered from the centre of the stage. When light struck the centrepiece the result was somewhat breathtaking, the dots glittering like gold showed members of the audience who had missed the 80’s just how captivating the old silver spheres can be. On top of this unusual sight we heard a mellowed down rendition of Everlasting Light, forming a pinnacle in the set.

It has to be said that tracks from El Camino really did wipe the floor. The band appeared to be going full throttle with material from last December’s release showing their innate ability to get the crowd Jiving. With arguably one of the best albums last few years… the blend of new and old really hit the spot. As for the best track, Gold On The Ceiling stood out as the palpitating drums rolled along with the catchy synth line leaving Birmingham in a sweaty haze with ringing ears…

The Black Keys have fully earned their status as a band with he ability to sell out arenas. Roll on the next album…

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