The Black Keys played an hour-long set at the Glastonbury Festival yesterday. Watch the full HD video below, via the BBC television broadcast posted to YouTube.
The Black Keys Full Set at Glastonbury 2014:
The Black Keys "Fever" at Glastonbury 2014 BBC Official Video:
"Dead and Gone" kicks things off, and the band are clearly on point. The band has kicked things into high gear after some apparent issues getting on the same page during performances on Saturday Night Live and Letterman that were sloppier than what we've come to expect from the usually tight band. Drummer Patrick Carney was as smooth as I've ever seen him, locking in with bassist Dick Swift and keyboardist / guitarist John Wood. Meanwhile, Auerbach's vocals were flawless. For fans of The Black Keys, this concert was a treat.
This was followed by the hard rocking "Next Girl" and then a couple more songs from El Camino: "Run Right Back" and "Gold On The Ceiling." "Run Right Back" features a fantastic guitar breakdown, where Auerbach seems to be embracing his role as a guitar gunslinger. Similarly, Auerbach goes out with an extended solo on "Ten Cent Pistol." During the beginning of "Gold on the Ceiling," he shouts out to the crowd "Sing it!" and they happily comply, shouting out the melody like they're at an Iron Maiden concert. The same thing happens during "Lonely Boy" toward the end of the set.
The heavy grooves of Carney with the heavy riffing from Auerbach are very Led Zeppelin-esque. The pounding kick drum and explosive bursts of guitar combine for a really powerful rock sound, and the band maintains solid grooves and precise playing throughout. Halfway through the set, Auerbach says, "There's so many of you out there, it's a little overwhelming. This next one is a bit of an oldie for us. We played this on the John Peel Stage awhile back," before launching into a monstrous intro to the manic "Strange Times" from Attack & Release. The band ploughs through the slowed down choruses, like a locomotive going around a bend.
The band played three songs from their newest album, Turn Blue: "It's Up To You Now," "Gotta Get Away," and "Fever." By comparison, they played seven songs from El Camino, five from Brothers, and one from Attack & Release. There were no songs from The Black Keys' first 4 albums. Given the time constraints of a daytime festival set, it felt like the band did a great job choosing fun songs for their setlist that allowed them to flex their rock muscles. And while the songs are fun, they're also dark. This is pop-rock music, but it's not rainbows and unicorns.
"Tighten Up" shows the band at their melodic and adrenaline pumping best. Followed by the new song "Fever," the band show that they're as good as anyone at blending rock and pop in a way that really moves people. Halfway through the next song, "Lonely Boy," the energy in the crowd was on full rage mode as people are jumping around, singing along, and smiling their butts off. It all built up for a final tune: "Little Black Submarines."
Auerbach plays a different guitar on virtually every song, and to kick off "L.B.S." he plays an old resonator with a golden sheen. The acoustic opening was the perfect step-down in intensity, as the crowd were fully immersed in the set at this point. Carney's powerful drumming and the swirling organ filled out the song, as the words "A broken heart is blind" echoed across Glastonbury. Then, Auerbach switched to his trusty Guild Thunderbird and displayed classic rock guitar chops that had the crowd pumping their fists and chanting "One more song" when it was over. In all, an excellent set from the group.
The Black Keys Glastonbury 2014