Last Night: The Black Keys & Arctic Monkeys at the Woodlands
It's hard to find an honest-to-Jesus, meat-and-potatoes (and possibly bourbon-soaked) rock show in 2012. Enter the Black Keys and the Arctic Monkeys last night at that lil' ol' shed in The Woodlands, who delivered nearly four hours of superb fuzz and crunch to a packed house, aided by a bracing April wind.
Rock isn't dead, rock is just hiding in plain sight.
The Black Keys came into this year either overrated or underrated, depending on who you talk to, and depending on how big of a stick is in their ass. Last December's El Camino hit just as all the rock critics' year-end lists were hitting the blogosphere, with almost unanimous praise washing over all 11 tracks.
The exodus of the indie heads away from the joyous noise of guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney was expected as their star rose a few years back, and they slowly became the ass-shaking duo of choice for most red-blooded party people. Sorry, no offense, LMFAO.
You can either embrace the band as the stadium-rock heroes they are now, or mourn the band you miss from The Big Come-Up, when they were just another garage group in thrift-store rags with a Junior Kimbrough fetish. Personally, I will take the big-budget remake over another sweded version of the White Stripes.
Openers the Arctic Monkeys were given a hefty hour to trot out everything from their now wildly adventurous catalog. From their 2005 lead single "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," the modish, fresh-faced Sheffield, England, boys somehow morphed into the robo-rockers of "Brick by Brick" from last year's Suck It and See.
To snatch a phrase from my words about their House of Blues set last August, "They are playing firmly from the crotch now."
This all happened within five years of time, as outside influences like the Black Sabbath catalog and Josh Homme turned lead singer Alex Turner and the band into something way more interesting than other mid-'00s MySpace-era casualties like the Cribs and Bloc Party. The Monkeys' surviving this long was improbable, and that's what keeps me coming back to their albums.