THE BLACK KEYS – Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – are headed to Israel for the first time. (photo credit: BLACK KEYS)
THE BLACK KEYS – Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – are headed to Israel for the first time.
(photo credit: BLACK KEYS)

The Black Keys to hit all the right notes in Israel debut


The life of a touring rock band can be surreal. American roots rockers The Black Keys have been traversing Europe for the last month, performing well-received shows at such high-profile showcases like The Mad Cool Festival in Madrid and the RockWave Festival in Greece.

Next week, the raucous duo end the tour with their arrival in Israel for the first time to headline a show at LivePark in Rishon Lezion with quality support from Ninet and Boom Pam. Their next show back in the US after a month’s break? The Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

The venues may change, but the music made for two decades across 11 studio albums by guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney – a juicy gumbo of garage rock, lo-fi, blues, and psychedelia – remains the same.

Often compared to The White Stripes for their stripped down, primal approach, the Akron-Ohio bred childhood friends share with Jack White a knack for jacking up traditional blues and r&b with rock & roll bluster. Now based in Nashville, they’ve won six Grammy Awards, including best rock album for 2013’s El Camino, and their latest album, Dropout Boogie, has enabled them to expand their fan base and the size of venues, as they tour as bona fide rock stars.

“The key to our sound is embracing the human element,” Carney told NME in a recent interview. “None of us are virtuoso musicians, there’s just a lot of raw rock ‘n’ roll.”

 THE BLACK KEYS – Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach. (credit: BLACK KEYS)
THE BLACK KEYS – Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach. (credit: BLACK KEYS)

What is the big appeal of The Black Keys?

THEIR ONE-TWO punch is enhanced onstage by four backing musicians, but as a review of their recent show in Glasgow that appeared in The Scotsman attested, the focus is on Auerbach and Carney and their telepathy in their quest to “hit the sweet spot between rock and R&B. 

“Auerbach’s seductive falsetto on 'Everlasting Light' elicited whoops of appreciation from the crowd, and he could let rip on guitar without losing the groove which makes them such an irresistible pop proposition,” wrote the reviewer.

Relying heavily on their back catalog, the band played only two tunes from Dropout Boogie, which website Louder Than War raved about. 

“‘Wild Child’ from the new album Dropout Boogie sounds like a classic in the making. With a riff firmly in the early 1970’s blues rock tradition, Dan Auerbach’s vocals have more than a hint of Paul Rodgers in his Free days,” said their review.

Twenty years on the road, the Black Keys’ principles are still in it for the fun, according to Carney in a recent interview with NME.

“We’ve done a lot of growing up in the last 10 years. Dan and I have always been close but we’ve got a very deep friendship right now. We enjoy hanging out. Getting to go on tour with your friend, it makes the whole thing feel more exciting,” Carney told NME. “The most important thing to Dan and I has always to be relevant. We want to be making music people give a shit about, and not just making music to make music.”

Their show next week in Rishon will go head to head against another concert taking place a few kilometers away in Tel Aviv – The Offspring. Whether those punk rockers and these roots rockers will divide the potential audience remains to be seen. But both bands, instead of resting on their laurels, are still releasing new music and keeping things fresh, rather than simply trotting out a greatest hits show.

“As long as that is happening, then you can continue on,” Carny told NME. “When I see a band like Fleetwood Mac who’ve not made a record in 30 years or something, that just f***ing sucks. It’s not inspirational for me. That’s like purgatory... As I get older, I’m realizing you want to be making music and creating stuff that’s exciting. Otherwise, what the f*** is the point?“

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