Black Keys Kansas City, MO. Sprint Center 4.28.13

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Kansas City, MO. (4.28.13) Once known as a damn good midwestern bar band often playing to less than 100, The Black Keys brought their mega tour to Kansas City with cult favs the Flamming Lips to 11,00+ Sunday 4.28.13. My last Black Keys show was @ Wanee 2010 when they were on the cusp of what has now become the Black Keys line-up. This was a as “big as they get” production from start (Saturday they did sound checks all day) to tear down. The removal of the science fiction hollyweed Flamming Lips set occurred along side the set up of the Black Keys stage. At one time I counted 50 people coming and going from all sides of the stage. Security was tight but not strung so tight that folks couldn’t get their groove on.  In fact there were several “Wayne” spottings as he milled around the stage area aiming his spot light toward the crowd, encouraging people to enjoy the evening.

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From Timothy Finn Kansas City Star: “… The Keys … wound themselves up and delivered the Grammy-winning sound they have honed and polished over the past 12 years: dark and grimy electric blues with a touch of soul. By the time they took the stage, more than 12,000 people were in the place — a remarkable number considering they are, essentially, a two-man blues act, a bar band, really.

But guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney deliver music that is as primal and raunchy as it is sincere and despite its primitiveness, it survived just fine in an arena. They brought some backup: a keyboard player and a bassist, but they didn’t do much to embellish the Key’s monochromatic sound.

They Keys’ are touring on “El Camino,” which won four Grammys in February, including for best rock song and best rock album. They would play seven of its 11 tracks. They also played seven tracks off its predecessor, “Brothers,” their breakthrough album.

The 90-minute, 20-song set was delivered with cool efficiency. Carney didn’t speak a word and Auerbach had little to say, either. His guitar playing is refreshingly flashy and distinct, but minimal, too.

Despite that and the sameness among many of the Keys songs, the crowd seemed engaged throughout. It erupted several times: during “Sinister Kid,” at the coda to “Ten Cent Pistol” and during the “hits”: “Tighten Up” and “Lonely Boy.” Disco balls descended from the ceiling for the first encore, “Everlasting Light,” which got a big response, too.

The Key’s success must be encouraging for the hundreds of bands who are reviving one of America’s oldest music traditions, which, like jazz, has been in trouble over the past decade, at least commercially. To paraphrase the Lips’ famous song, when it comes to music, not everything that goes away dies. Some are just awaiting their moment of revival and resurrection.

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Setlist:

Howlin’ for You
Next Girl
Run Right Back
Same Old Thing
Dead and Gone
Gold on the Ceiling
Thickfreakness
Girl Is on My Mind
Your Touch
Little Black Submarines
Money Maker
Strange Times
Sinister Kid
Nova Baby
Ten Cent Pistol
She’s Long Gone
Tighten Up
Lonely Boy
Encore
Everlasting Light
I Got Mine

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