The Black Keys proved Monday night at Save Mart Center that sometimes you don’t need all the bells and whistles of the modern concert world.
The duo — Dan Auerbach on guitar and vocals, next to drummer Patrick Carney — gave a largely no-frills performance, without much on-stage jabbering or over-the-top gimmickry. Instead, they gave the Fresno crowd a straight-up rock ‘n’ roll show and did a damn fine job of that.
The crowd packed into the general admission floor and filled most of the downstairs riser seating. It included girls dancing in the aisles, dudes crowd-surfing and little kids standing on their seats holding signs and making you wonder if they were a few days early for Friday’s Justin Bieber concert.
All the same, the Keys — a bit of an unlikely arena-level act, but one who has gotten to where it is on a slow climb to mainstream accessibility — mowed through favorites like “Next Girl,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” the decibel-driving set-closer “Lonely Boy” and the beautiful “Little Black Submarines.” They brought down a giant disco ball for “Everlasting Light” and lit up a big sign with the band’s name for “I Got Mine,” both of which were in the encore of the band’s 90-minute set.
Those were probably the only moments of excess in the show. Auerbach and Carney wore jeans and a T-shirts, which went along with the feeling that weren’t trying too hard to impress anybody. They were joined by two backing musicians who looked like their kid brothers. At one point, they dismissed those two. “We’re going to play some songs, just the two of us now,” Auerbach said. And they sounded just as good.
They seemed like two guys just playing music, and they’d be doing it the same way whether they were playing in a tiny club in the Tower District or in front of thousands at the Save Mart Center. Expect there might not be room for that giant disco ball.
YOUR TURN: We want to hear your review from The Black Keys show. What did you think? Did you love them? Or were you underwhelmed? What did you think of the crowd? The setlist? The stage show? Was it worth they money? Did you dig openers Tegan and Sara. Chime in on those topics or anything else you want.
MORE PHOTOS: Check out this photo gallery from The Bee’s Mark Crosse.