Last Night: The Black Keys At The Woodlands

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Photos by Marc Brubaker
The Black Keys
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 20, 2010

"Howlin' at midnight, winter creepin' in/ Feel like I've gone and lost my best friend" - Lucinda Williams, "Howlin' At Midnight"

Did you see the moon Wednesday night? The "Super Harvest Moon" that, according to NASA, only happens once every 20 years or so when the first night of autumn falls on a full moon?

If ever there were a night to see the Black Keys outdoors, this was it. Soul time began about 8:15 p.m. with "I'll Be Your Man," which reaches back to the Keys' 2002 debut, The Big Come Up - and really even further, with a bass line we could have sworn we'd heard on some Stax Records cut and subsequently bothered us through the whole song.

OK, not bothered; hot and bothered, maybe. Being a Kings of Leon show (technically), hormones were on high alert as it was - and the Akron, Ohio-spawned duo did nothing to dispel the wicked mojo floating around the Woodlands Pavilion. Not with the swamp-fuzz riff and almost carnivalesque chorus of "Strange Times," and not with the impressive falsetto guitarist Dan Auerbach displayed on "Everlasting Light."

Paging Curtis Mayfield...

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The Keys did offer a helpful piece of advice on "Next Girl," though: "If I think too hard, I might lose my mind." This type of music works best when absorbed and processed by areas of the body much further down the spinal cord than the brain; with drummer Patrick Carney flailing away like a puppeteer with a serious grudge against his wooden minions, every thwack and cymbal-splash was like an unspoken invitation to... well, never mind.

"Next Girl," which occasioned Aftermath to write "heavyheavyheavyheavy" in our notebook, kicked off what we like to call the "Born Under a Bad Sign" part of the set. Although the Keys didn't actually play the Albert King classic, the next few songs evoked the same sort of voodoo vibes and guitar fireworks from Auerbach.

"Chop and Change," the Keys' contribution to the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack, got a boost from some haunted-house organ by one of the extra two players (the other contributed gobs of gooey bass); "Howlin' for You" was not directed at the moon overhead, or maybe it was; "Tighten Up" and "She's Long Gone" were a double whammy of Hendrix, the former more "Manic Depression," the latter more "Voodoo Child."

Back to a duo, the Keys closed out with "Ten Cent Pistol," which was both Zombies freaky and Dap-Kings soulful - and that's Zombies as in Rod Argent's '60s UK Odyssey and Oracle group, not the undead humanoids... we guess - the dirty, dirty stomp of "Your Touch," and closing neck-throttling blues belter "I Got Mine."

Damn right they did. So did we. Zombies... full moons... stirred-up hormones... the Black Keys left Kings of Leon with quite an act to follow.

Amazingly enough, they did. To that Aftermath can only say the men don't know, but the little girls understand.

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Personal Bias: We're a big fan of full moons and the havoc they can bring about.

The Crowd: Made us think bad, bad things. See our Kings of Leon review for why.

Overheard In the Crowd: Nothing worth writing down. Or repeating.


SET LIST

I'll Be Your Man
Strange Times
Everlasting Light
Next Girl
Chop and Change
Howlin' for You
Tighten Up
She's Long Gone
Ten Cent Pistol
Your Touch
I Got Mine


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