The Black Keys silky-smooth, soulful slice of Americana left their audience awe-stricken after an astounding gig supported by Band of Skulls at the Manchester Apollo.
Taking no prisoners, and allowing no time for the audience to thaw, The Black Keys immediately fired up one of their more recent greats, ‘Howlin’ For You’, much to the pleasure of the eagerly awaiting room. The palpable tension after the long break between the warm up and the main act transformed, without delay, into 10,000 kilowatts of electric atmosphere.
Kicking down a gear after their high energy start, they rolled into ‘Next Girl’, dragging the audience right along. With its emotionally charged, reminiscent tones of regret; the pounding, clean-cut bass drum contrasted the dirty, weeping guitar expertly.
The real highlight of the night had to be ‘Your Touch’. This track, from the middle of the bands discography, seemed to stitch up a clear split in the room between the older, early-adopting fans, and the relative newcomers, following off the back of their recent commercial success.
However, the impressive range of vocalist, Dan Auerbach, was demonstrated no better than through the song ‘Ten Cent Pistol’. Its loud/quiet dynamics, reminiscent of early Nirvana, bestowed the piece with astounding intensity one moment, then managing to switch another, delivering to the audience the protagonist’s fragile heart-ache of a jilted lover, driven to murder.
The Black Keys packed the set with back to back hits, barely pausing to let the audience cool, even for a moment, keeping the flow to a maximum, and the audience on the edge of their metaphorical seat.
Finishing with their latest, adrenalin-fuelled rendition, ‘Lonely Boy’, they left the audience craving more, and demanding an encore. They definitely didn’t disappoint.
In my opinion, The Black Keys are not only the perfect antidote for those still smarting from the split of The Kings of Leon, but outstanding artists in their own right; a musical force to be reckoned with in 2012. Effortlessly original, unbearably cool, unquestionably talented; you need this band in your life.