Sunday, April 29th 2012
Shows: Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys
Although we just covered the Black Keys and the Arctic Monkeys in Dallas last weekend, turning down a good rock show isn’t really our style.
Knee-deep into the El Camino tour, the Black Keys and their friends the Arctic Monkeys hit the nearly sold-out BOK Center in Tulsa on Saturday night, bringing a much needed dose of rock to the arena.
The Arctic Monkeys hit the stage promptly at 8 p.m. and played through a tight set of 16 songs in just under an hour. Opening with Brianstorm, the band quickly won over any in the crowd who were here solely for the Black Keys. Vocalist and lead guitarist Alex Turner has really come into his own over the past few years, controlling the stage while his fellow Monkeys flesh out the tremendous, vaguely psychedelic rock sound they are known for.
Highlights of their set included the always great Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor (dedicated to all of the ladies in the crowd) and the poppy yet lyrically depressing Fluorescent Adolescent.
After a quick set change the Black Keys appeared, flanked by several additional live musicians. Dan Auerbach had barely introduced the band before they jumped head first into Howlin’ for You. Driven by Patrick Carney’s primal, clap-inducing drum pounding, Auerbach took the track as an opportunity to bust out a few quick guitar solos for the completely enraptured crowd.
For the rest of the evening, the Black Keys played a set heavy on material from last year’s 5-star El Camino and 2010′s Brothers with a small selection of older tracks for those who have been with them longer than one or two album cycles.
After the smoldering synth buzz of Gold on the Ceiling, the Keys dismissed the rest of their backing band and played a mini set of older tunes as a duo. While the backing band adds great texture to their live sound, hearing them play raw versions of Thickfreakness, I’ll Be Your Man and the ever popular Your Touch is equally exciting.
The astounding Little Black Submarines was next, inspiring several hundred in the audience to bust out lighters and other tools of illumination as the band played on. After the quieter, acoustic portion of the song finished the stage lights fell completely black as Auerbach switched guitars to prepare for the electric onslaught of the second half. The crowd’s energy exploded as the music resumed, spiraling into an extended solo of bended notes and classic rock guitar fuzz primed for melting faces.
After the whistle-happy Tighten Up and the engine-revving guitar work of Lonely Boy closed out the main set, the band came back out for a three song encore. As two giant disco balls came down from the ceiling (one on stage and one behind the pit) the arena filled with swirling, reflected light and the sweet smell of pot smoke; A definite sign that a good times were happening.
As the show came to a close with the punchy I Got Mine, a giant Black Keys logo dropped from the ceiling as though those in attendance didn’t know who had been rocking their faces for the last two hours. As bright white lights flashed from every possible source on the stage the band took in the applause before finally wishing the crowd a good night and exiting the stage.
While the Arctic Monkeys and the Black Keys both offer different interpretations of rock music, put together they provide for more than a decent night out. In a world where Nickelback is considered arena rock’s hottest ticket, it’s refreshing to see real bands offer an alternative. The Black Keys have had a decade long ride to the top, but if this tour and El Camino are any indication, they’re definitely ready.
Howlin’ for You, Next Girl, Run Right Back, Same Old Thing, Dead and Gone, Gold on the Ceiling, Thickfreakness, Girl Is On My Mind, I’ll Be Your Man, Your Touch, Little Black Submarines, Money Maker, Strange Times, Nova Baby, Ten Cent Pistol, Tighten Up, Lonely Boy, Everlasting Light, She’s Long Gone, I Got Mine
Brianstorm, This House Is a Circus, Still Take You Home, Library Pictures, Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair, The View From the Afternoon, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor, Pretty Visitors, If You Were There Beware, Teddy Picker, Crying Lightning, Suck It and See, Fluorescent Adolescent, Evil Twin, Brick by Brick, R U Mine?