“Let’s give it up for that midwest rock ‘n’ roll,” said The Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach halfway through their headlining show at Michigan’s Pine Knob Music Theater, a venue that is known for hosting legendary Detroit rockers for over 50 years.
The Black Keys, made up of Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, are touring the country on their Dropout Boogie Tour, and proved to a packed Michigan crowd that just like the midwest rockers that came before them, rock ‘n’ roll isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are from Akron, Ohio, after all, so this kind of music is in their DNA.
The show started off with a fun little video from comedian David Cross (best known as Tobias from “Arrested Development”), and soon enough The Black Keys took the stage and were ready to go.
Backed by four other musicians, The Black Keys started the night with hits “I Got Mine,” “Howlin’ For You,” “Fever” and “Tighten Up.” It was hit after hit and the crowd could not get enough of it. Auerbach was commanding on guitar, and Carney’s drum kit was loud and thunderous despite its simple setup.
The Black Keys used to play as just a duo back in their early days of performing and touring, and even though they’ve filled out their sound with other musicians, the simplicity to their blues-influenced songs is still there. I sometimes caught myself forgetting that there were other musicians on stage and not just the original duo.
The first third of the show ended with the band’s hit “Gold On The Ceiling” and the entire venue was nice and warmed up for what was to come.
The band then brought up another group of musicians, including legendary blues guitarist Kenny Brown, and played songs from their 2021 album of covers called “Delta Kream.” While the modest Black Keys fan may not have known the songs from this album, it didn’t stop the crowd from boogieing along to the rockabilly tracks. There was tons of soul and the crowd was grooving.
Brown was a delight to watch up on stage. He made playing the blues look so effortless, and Auerbach even acknowledged on stage that The Black Keys wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for Brown. It was pretty cool to see the band play with one of their heroes.
After a few songs, the regular touring musicians took to the stage and the band went right back into playing songs from their extensive catalog. There was “Next Girl,” “Everlasting Light” and “Tent Cent Pistol” from their breakthrough 2010 album “Brothers,” as well as their new single “Wild Child.”
After an encore of fans chanting the band’s name, they returned to the stage and brought the crowd of devoted fans to church.
“Little Black Submarines” and “Lonely Boy” from 2011′s “El Camino” was the perfect ending to a brisk early September night filled with fantastic music and immaculate vibes. It was like every person at the venue was walking out with a giant smile on their face.
The Black Keys are currently on tour, and if they’re coming to a town near you it’s mandatory that you go. You can find the rest of their tour dates here.