Black Keys, Blonde Redhead, and Sleater-Kinney at Roseland Ballroom in New York, NY - 2/15/03
The Black Keys did not saunter onto the Roseland stage as if they were the rockingest duo to come out of Akron, OH even though they should have! Rather, the two just kind of appeared. Drummer Patrick Carney had his head bowed toward the ground as if to avoid the audience. Having previously purchased their debut album, The Big Come Up, I had been anxiously awaiting this show. Forty minutes later, I was certainly not disappointed with the performance I was actually itchin to hear more. The bands early exit left me wondering what song they would have closed with had the Roseland sound people not cut them off due to apparent timing issues. As a fan in the crowd, I will never know what that was really about, but I do know it was quite disappointing. At least let the band finish their freaking song. Bloody hell! Dont do us like that!
Even this setback could not besmirch my joy as a result of a most fabulous set. Playing with a guitar and the most basic of drum kits, The Black Keys were on fire. I have never been a fan of the guitar term the axe, yet watching Dan Auerbach rip on his guitar, as if it were a weapon (a weapon used for very good things) called to mind this term, and finally I think it can be used appropriately. His voice also seemed to be sent from the rock gods, calling to mind an aged blues hound voice, quite lived in and meaningful. I can barely wait for The Black Keys next release Thickfreakness, due out early April on Fat Possum. I will just have to keep The Big Come Up in my disc player until then; I got no problem with that as a little soul never hurt anyone.
Blonde Redhead promptly took the stage following The Black Keys. I have read and heard much hype about these kids, so I checked them out. However, I cant really say anything about them, save that the music itself was alright. The vocals, shared by Amedeo Pace and Kazu Makino were ear-piercingly annoying, and I was having entirely too many Sonic Youth flashes (which in my head is almost always bad since I am not a fan). I retreated to the downstairs to enjoy my wine in peace.
Sleater-Kinney finally graced us with their presence about twenty-five minutes or so after Blonde Redhead exited the stage. Is it just me, or does waiting around for bands to decide to get on stage really burn you up? I am not sure what in the world they do backstage until they finally get on stage, but I have to believe it could be done in a more timely fashion - especially when you cut an awesome band short in the first set for no apparent reason and with no warning.
After I was done being aggravated about the timing business, I succumbed to the rock that Sleater-Kinney was bringing. As usual, they did not let me down, and they played Turn It On, one of my favorite SK songs. The girls played a good mix from most of their albums, of course relying mostly on their most recent release One Beat. Corin Tucker shook her ass like it wasnt no big thang, and that to me is rockin. It is a ton of fun to go to a show and see the band actually appear to be enjoying themselves onstage, be-boppin to their own danceable tunes. Rad! This is a good thing, because with the gals of SK, the lyrics can tend toward the more serious, social/ political side of the fence, which is no better represented than by the girls thanking the audience for protesting the war and adding their 2 cents on the issue. In the end, SK put on a bitchin show that was consistent with the previous times I had seen them, and that makes me a satisfied customer. As long as they keep booking such kick-ass opening bands (well at least one out of two), which seems to be a talent of theirs, I will keep on buying tickets.
Music by the Black Keys can be purchased at
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