The Black Keys, Paris, Zénith, 25th January 2012

Sold out show this week for The Black Keys in Paris and well deserved success I would add for this duo that did not change his basic formula but had the good idea of adapting their music little by little. Originally from the post-industrial city Akron in Ohio, The Black Keys formed around 10 years ago with Dan Auerbach singing and playing guitar and Patrick Carney on drums and on production duties. What?  A duo influenced by traditional soul and blues music, with no bass in it? Sounds familiar… But no, this ain’t The White Stripes reforming as Patrick is no girl and as there is no color theme in this band…

 So back to the show where they played an excellent set full of energy, after the band Portugal The Man from Portland, Oregon did a very good show as well as opening act. The Black Keys have been one of the bands that this blog cherishes (last two LP’s “Brothers” and “El Camino” have been in our best of lists in 2010 and 2011) and I would recommend any of their seven albums for every person loving raw, authentic and soulful music. What made them suddenly popular is an interesting case because as said earlier their music did not change that much. There are a few reasons I would suggest :

* having worked with hip-hop artists on the “Blakroc” project gave them a more groovy texture;

* the friendship and production help they got from Danger Mouse (cf. “Rome” last year) from the “Attack & Release” LP onwards gave them a more defined sound than before, probably with more personality;

* the split of the White Stripes and the fact of eventually being there at the right time.

Anyway, excellent show and as the one I previously saw in Paris in 2010, they now have a couple of musicians (bass +  keyboards) who play with them on around half the tracks, giving more texture and richness for the live performance. But boy, how they still rock when both of them decide to play as a duo only! Here is an extract of the concert I took ; enjoy!

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