It’s been eight long years since The Black Keys last played in the UK, so you’d expect demand to be high for their return. Tonight though, the cavernous O2 Arena in London is actually relatively quiet both in attendance and crowd energy.
As opening act Shannon and the Clams take to the stage the venue is eerily quiet, and it takes the band a few songs to hit their stride. As fans filter into the venue however, the band get into the groove and by the end of their time on the stage, the group has a check in the win column.
Next up are main support, US indie rock group Spoon, who are touring in support of their tenth studio album, ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’. New tracks ‘Wild’, ‘My Babe’ and ‘The Hardest Cut’, all sit pretty in an assured set, which whilst enjoyable, does little to raise the energy levels in the venue.
By the time The Black Keys arrive on stage, the standing section at least is more dense and anticipation finally seems to have raised a few levels. Opening with ‘I Got Mine’ and ‘Fever’ and accompanied by a simple by effective stage set the band get the audience on side early.
It’s telling from this point in that the majority of the audience are only really interested in anything ‘El Camino’ or earlier with any newer tracks getting a lukewarm response. When the band do drop a ‘Tighten Up’ or ‘Howlin’ For You’ though the crowd goes wild.
The lack of excitement in the crowd seems somewhat matched by the sluggish delivery from the stage. The duo have had a number of struggles in that eight year gap and it does feel a little like going through the motions tonight rather than a big return to past glories.
Again, when the likes of ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ and ‘Lonely Boy’ do arrive then there is a rush of adrenaline in the venue. What could’ve been a huge party though ended up being a chilled out family barbeque where the only excitement comes when the chef calls out that the burgers are ready!
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report!
This week we begin with a handful of festival announcements including one that is always a hotly anticipation one, who is playing Reading & Leeds Festivals?
Your headliners this year are Sam Fender, Foals, The Killers, Lewis Capaldi, Billie Eilish and Imagine Dragons. They’ll be joined by the likes of Wet Leg, Nothing But Thieves, Slowthai, You Me At Six, Baby Queen, Inhaler, Don Broco and The Snuts.
DMA’s continue to tease new music from their fourth album ‘How Many Dreams?’, with the release of new track, ‘Olympia’, which you can check out above.
Guitarist Matt Mason comments on ‘Olympia’: “’Olympia’ was written for a crowd, and is a dedication to all of our fans, especially the ones who’ve been with us from the start. we can’t wait to play it for you all.”
Their new album is out March 31st, pre-order your copy here.
Levellers have announced their brand new acoustic album ‘Together All The Way’ will be released on March 10th. You can listen to new single, ‘Down By The River ‘O” above.
Of the album and recording, the Levellers say, “It was truly a fun record to make, under the rigorous guidance of Sean. Sean’s a musician himself, always bringing ideas and get out of jail free suggestions when we got stuck. It’s a stripped back, raw iteration of the collective with deep folk leanings. As energetic as the first one but definitely different.”
Blondshell explains, “I was obsessed with the [US teen drama] show ‘Veronica Mars’ as a kid and I was revisiting it around the time I wrote this song. I wanted to sing about that childhood era when I was being exposed to a lot more than I was comfortable with. ‘Gimme shelter’ refers to the song but I’m also saying please give me shelter from graphic TV and film, from New York City, overwhelming lyrics, etc. I think the song is just about having my boundaries crossed and the effects of those transgressions (for example, growing up to think men are hot if they’re assholes).”
overpass – ‘3AM’
overpass have shared their latest single, ‘3AM’.
They commented, “‘3AM’ is an innocent coming-of-age song that I think most people can relate to. It’s about the excitement you get when you’re going out, knowing you might be able to connect with that person, or at least hope that they will call you back when the night is over and done with.”
Life In Mono – ‘Blackout’
Life In Mono have just shared double A-side singles ‘Blackout/Sex To White Noise’
Speaking about the inspiration behind the singles, vocalist Sarah Clayton says, “Blackout is about people in your life that you know are no good for you but are hard to give up, whereas Sex To White Noise is about trying to find a connection that makes you feel something when you’re feeling really numb. If you’ve ever been on prozac you’ll know!”
Flashback almost 10 years ago now and the already well established The Black Keys were on the cusp of real superstardom after the incredible success of ‘El Camino’. Then the disruption began.
Whilst touring follow up album, ‘Turn Blue’, drummer Patrick Carney dislocated his shoulder and several shows were cancelled. Once that tour concluded the band went on an extended hiatus, returning in 2019 with ‘Let’s Rock’ to somewhat of a whimper.
A covers album followed last year, and any momentum the band still had seemed to dissipate. Neither, ‘Let’s Rock’ or ‘Delta Kream’ were bad albums, but neither lived up to the high standards and expectations of the band.
On now to March this year and a fantastic single, ‘Wild Child’ peaked interest again. Could The Black Keys rediscover the magic that established them as one of the biggest and best live bands rock bands on the planet?
Well, here we are in May 2022 and we now have their eleventh studio album, ‘Dropout Boogie’, and thankfully that special touch seems to have returned. ‘Wild Child’ and fellow single, ‘It Ain’t Over’ open the album superbly and remind fans just why they fell in love with the band.
Yes, this truly is a clichéd return to form for The Black Keys, who have seemingly benefitted from returning to basics. This is a simple yet effective hard rock stomp capturing the elements of blues and garage rock that helped define their sound.
Billy F Gibbons featuring track, ‘Good Love’ is another highlight, but really there isn’t a bad song on the album. Carney and Dan Auerbach have their synchronicity back, and fans have The Black Keys back on top form.