The Black Keys Return to Madison Square Garden Following "Never-Better" Homecoming Show in Cleveland (Plain Dealer)
The Black Keys return to New York City to play the second of two shows at Madison Square Garden, following their first-ever headlining show at the venue earlier this month, which the Associated Press says "electrified Madison Square Garden" with a set that was "exhilarating, bluesy and loud." (The commemorative poster for tonight's concert, pictured at left and available at the show, is by the one-and-only Shepard Fairey; his poster for the band's MSG debut sold out quickly.) In between, the band has been rocking arenas across North America, with shows in Montreal, Toronto, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Cleveland, not far from their hometown of Akron. It was just announced today that the band will return to New York City once again later this summer for a headliner slot in the inaugural Catalpa Festival on Randall's Island, July 28.
"Let’s hear it for the little band from Akron that could," exclaims the Cleveland Plain Dealer's John Soeder in his review of Tuesday night's show at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena (a.k.a The Q). "Over the past decade, I’ve caught the Black Keys in a variety of settings, from Cleveland’s Beachland Tavern to an outdoor barbecue party in Austin, Texas, to a Detroit music hall. I’ve never known them to put on a bad show. And I’ve never witnessed them put on a better one than they did on this high-stakes occasion." Read the complete concert review at cleveland.com.
Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot says "a celebration seemed in order" when The Black Keys made their United Center debut in Chicago Monday night. "After all, only a handful of new Millennium bands have developed a big enough following to tour arenas." And it would seem a celebration was had indeed.
Dan Auerbach's " guitar tone was dark and thick, a menacing shudder that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Howlin’ Wolf record," Kot reports, while Carney "punished the cymbals during 'Gold on the Ceiling,'” the latest single off the band's new album, El Camino. As ever, the band's sound remains full of "brawny riffs and rolling, tumbling drums that swing hard."
Kot concludes: "They’re a blue-collar band who turned into arena headliners without taking any short cuts. As Monday’s concert demonstrated, they’re not about to start taking anything for granted now." Read the review at chicagotribune.com.
"Lashing gutbucket blues to a sleek electric engine is an approach as old as rock itself, but in a 90-minute set Monday night at a sold-out United Center," writes Anders Smith Lindall, reviewing Monday's show for the Chicago Sun-Times, "the band proved worthy heirs to the tradition. Auerbach and Carney’s elemental sound was so bracing, and their delivery so undaunted, that they transformed the most antiseptic of venues into the world’s biggest roadhouse." Read that review at suntimes.com.
For information on upcoming tour dates, go to nonesuch.com/on-tour. To see some of the recent tour posters, check out the gallery at nonesuch.com/media. To pick up a copy of any of the albums in The Black Keys' Nonesuch catalog, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CD and vinyl orders include MP3s of the album at checkout.