July 22, 2009

Mile High Music Festival 2009 Wrap-Up: The Black Keys

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I was interested in finally catching a performance by the now legendary Black Keys. As you read those two words, either you yourself are saying aloud or in your mind "oh man, the Black Keys rock," or you can hear the words of someone you know saying them. It's the visceral response at this point in our society. Pretty much everyone has heard of them, and almost no one would say anything except "oh man, The Black Keys rock."

I myself am most likely guilty of saying it, but, now, the truth must come out. I don't get it. I listened to 4 of their albums once each and their album Attack & Release more times than can count just to see if I could understand why people adore them so much, and I just can't put my finger on it. But I knew that once I saw them live, I would get it, because Anyone who's anyone who has seen the Black Keys live will forever praise their name.

I can safely say I like their style. Their performance spirited, if anything. They were sweating within moments of hitting the stage. The guitar was dark and heavily distorted, the drumming was primal, and the vocals expressive. I found the whole experience to be a little empty however. They infrequently engaged the audience, and they were not as energetic as I had been lead to believe. However, a few people in the audience kept yelling things like "quit holding back," so maybe this was just a more mellow night. I felt that not only was the performance a little empty, but the sound itself was a little empty. I'm all for just guitar and drums, but you have to have that guitar sounding just right to make the sound really work for me, and their records and that evening's live performance just didn't fill up the air enough for me.

I have to admit that if the chance comes to see them again, I will take it, because, if anything, I still need to see what all the fuss is about.

The Black Keys - Psychotic Girl

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