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You Review: The Black Keys

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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.

Responses to "You Review: The Black Keys"

Jim S says:

Absolutely remarkable show…yes, simple is best, and that is all that is needed when there is so much talent onstage. The Black Keys put on an incredible rock n roll show, and Dan Auerbach uses such a variety of sounds to make each song have its own personality. Love his raw guitar sound, together with his use of older tube amps, and a cord to his guitar! They make you feel like you are jumping decades: some are 50′s riffs, some are 60′s classic rock sounds, some are 70′s British band sounds (think Curtis Mayfield meets T-Rex, Jeff Beck and Cream), yet every song is a song for today.
Patrick Carney taught those drums who was boss. He uses an unusual drumming style, that sounds great!
The songs they played with just themselves were so full and synchronized, it would be hard to tell that it was in fact, only two. Again, that’s what happens when true talent takes the stage, and we were in the presence of it last night at SM Center.

hootzie says:

Wasn’t a huge fan of Tegan and Sara. Nothing special in the performance of their set and they had some real nasty flat notes that echoed through the arena.

I hadn’t listened to much of The Black Keys before the concert. Felt like a poser for going, but we got a comped ticket. I like them, but it all became a bit much in the big space. I’d love to see them in a small club down in the Tower District, but I didn’t think the show translated to that size venue. Loved the set where just the two of them played. That was my favorite part of the whole show.

That being said, I’m going to buy a few albums and give them a shot. And if they came through Fresno again, I’d pay for a ticket for sure.

Shelly says:

I went to the concert last night at the Savemart center. I only went for Tegan and Sara. I have been a huge fan for years and was very excited they were finally in Fresno,,even if it was to open for The Black Keys. I knew nothing about The Black Keys and through the concert I found that I did enjoy their music and will continue to listen to them. I would say the only negative is the frequent POT smell coming from the arena. A woman sitting behind me left due to the smell, she was about 8 month pregnant. Overall great concert.

Kathy Mahan says:

I had such a good time at the show. The Black Keys simply rocked. I felt like I was at some old-school jam session. The show was full of energy, without needing any fancy gimmicks. They just played, and they killed it. It seemed the more they grooved, the more the audience came alive. It was a great vibe.

ahmward says:

The Black Keys put on one of this year’s best shows at the Savemart Center. After they win their mainstream Grammys next year, which I am sure they will, they will sell out performances.
I would not buy anything by Tegan and Sara. I was underwhelmed by them.

Luke says:

Really underwhelmed by both the Black Keys and Tegan and Sara. The Black Keys should come up with their own style instead of trying so hard to emulate sounds of years gone by. If I want to hear those sounds, I’ll listen to the originals instead of some talentless hacks ripping them off. Setlist was short and weak. I’m just glad I didn’t pay for my ticket.

Hay says:

This seriously was the concert of the YEAR for fresno! The Black Keys are amazing! Patrick is a fantastic drummer and Dan kicks butt on vocals and he is an out of this world guitarist.
I was down on the floor, jumping, singing and rocking out the entire time. The crowd surfers were brave. I helped a guy up after the crowd had dropped him. HE WAS OKAY! HAHA! And I know some people were complaining about the smell, but I mean COME ON! THIS IS A ROCK SHOW! You had to expect the people would be smoking. This is not a justin beiber concert people. I got beer and smoke all over me and yet I still had an INCREDIBLE TIME.
Please come back :)

Kevin says:

You know you’ve jumped the shark already, somehow, when you have Shelly making the kind of comment she did. From top to bottom…phew. Pot at a rock concert? POT??! THAT SMELL! And and.. but bu bu…….. CROWD SURFERS? PSHHHH!!

Both accusations of crowd surfing and cannabis indulging shocked me while reading this considering this really isn’t a rock concert.

This is just a cute gathering following a certain niche. They won’t be back. Ever. Mark my words. Half of you people weren’t even there for the Black Keys. Half of the arena wasn’t even full. Enough said.

c.r. says:

this was the third time i’ve seen the keys: it was the smallest crowd out of those three; the set list wasn’t as long as the other venues; and,it was the MOST hostile crowd i have ever encountered at either a concert or a festival.

i will never, ever again attend a concert at s.m.c….low class and weird!