Almost exactly a year after the release of their seventh album, ‘El Camino’, rock duo The Black Keys are taking their show on the road in the UK, with a host of dates pencilled in for December. Flanked by the Arctic Monkeys, old friends and musical compatriots Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney kicked off on their first ever arena tour in the US in March, and will cross the pond just in time to provide the soundtrack to the run-up to Christmas.
Zig-zagging their way across the UK to delight bigger audiences than ever with their own brand of upbeat blues-rock, the Keys will begin their British invasion at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena on December 7th, moving to Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham before making their final landing in London on 12th to conquer the O2 arena.
Anyone who has followed The Black Keys’ career through its seven-album trajectory will know that their reluctance to conform to rigid genres is as steadfast now as it ever was. They’ve drawn influence from bluegrass, rock and RnB in the past, and on ‘El Camino’ the band can as ever be heard experimenting with myriad sounds, taking inspiration from glam rock and gospel among others.
With the album topping various US charts and making an impressive mark in the UK too, fans buying Black Keys tickets can rest assured that these versatile performers are worthy inhabitants of the big-ticket arenas they’ll be taking over in December.
Playing such massive venues is a significant leap for The Black Keys’ Auerbach, who began performing in small bars in his hometown in 2001. After meeting Carney at school in Ohio, the pair dropped out of the same university, discovered their musical compatibility, and formed a band, naming it The Black Keys after a favourite phrase of a schizophrenic artist acquaintance. Their first album, ‘The Big Come Up’, was released in 2002. It quickly gained a cult following, rendering its disappointing sales irrelevant by paving the way to a record deal and the band’s six future records.
Ambitious for the success they knew their uniquely diverse indie rock deserved, The Black Keys’ decision in 2004 to begin licensing their music to feature in commercials, TV, video games and film has led to lucrative associations with such household names as Victoria’s Secret, Twilight, and Grand Theft Auto, and proved a canny way to expand their music’s reach.
After overcoming a turbulent period of antipathy in 2009, during which Auerbach recorded a solo album, the duo came back with a bang, releasing their sixth studio album ‘Brothers’ to rave reviews, astounding sales figures, three Grammy awards and a 10-week stint at Number 1 for its single ‘Tighten Up’. Taking latest offering ‘El Camino’ on a major arena tour is just another sign that the band is at the top of their game.
Reviewers have time and time again compared these blues-rockers to The White Stripes – but, favourable as the comparison might be, The Black Keys have over the years carved out their own distinctive place in the rock canon, constantly diversifying and ultimately outlasting Jack and Meg White.
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