In concert: The Black Keys at Constitution Hall
By Mark Jenkins
"Let's keep it moving,'' Black Keys singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach implored DAR Constitution Hall's audience more than once Monday night. Of course, the sell-out crowd didn't set the concert's pace. The bluesy Ohio duo's show was designed to involve the fans, in part by regularly bathing them in white light. But it was Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney who governed the 90-minute set's speed, thumping through two dozen fierce, choppy songs that were short enough to have been written for 78 RPM release.
(The crossroads of blues and punk, after the jump)
The Keys aren't blues purists, though. They're modern-rock minimalists, with a riff-driven repertoire, a taste for the occasional funk beat or reggae bridge and a guitar sound so electric it verges on sci-fi. The evening's songs were far from diverse, and their lost-love sentiments nearly interchangeable: "Girl Is on My Mind,'' "She's Long Gone'' and "Next Girl'' barely qualified as variations on a theme. The real message was Auerbach's playing, which combined '60s blues swagger with '70s punk succinctness.
After a half hour of older stuff, the Keys were joined by a bassist and a keyboardist to help reproduce the denser sound of the group's new album, "Brothers.'' The change was not dramatic, and reflected the songs more than the added instruments. Characteristically, the newer material pulled in two directions, drawing on gospel as much as techno. The band absorbed such influences almost too easily. But if the Keys' sense of style seemed a bit confining, they compensated well just by keeping it moving.
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