Akron-bred blues rock duo The Black Keys brought their “Dropout Boogie Tour” through Vancouver, BC, Canada on Monday night.
The tour is supporting their eleventh studio album, the eponymously named Dropout Boogie.
The evening was kicked off by Colorado-made three-piece rock outfit The Velveteers. Lead singer Demi Demitro took to the mic to say hello as her bandmates, Babe Pottersmith and Jonny Fig took up residency at a dual drumkit setup at center stage.
The trio delved into a primal set of explosive rock; synchronized, harmonious duet drumming matched by possessed guitarmanship and attitude-dripping vocals. A raucous start to the night, one that inspired members of the audience to rise up and cheer in support. I’m going to keep an eye on this band and I would urge you to do the same. They are doing something special and I have no doubt they will see great things in the near future.
Carrying that torch, Seattle-hailing Band Of Horses brought a bit more complexity and exploration to their set. Lead Ben Bridwell and team lined the stage and built intense interplay and synchronic exchange but still able to overflow with passion and guttural release.
Bridwell’s face often seen contorted as he wrenched out emotional vocals and slapped an exclamation on every delivery.
As always, their set left me feeling good. A showcase of talent and cohesive connection, resulting in beautifully orchestrated renditions of their timeless tracks. Band Of Horses always brings it.
More of the crowd had stood at this point. Clapping and screaming enthusiastic support.
The Black Keys entered a pre-heated room.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach, in black sunglasses, and his coconspirator, drummer Patrick Carney, filtered to the stage with their rag-tag group of musically gifted misfits.
The energy was immediate, they felt the heat in the venue and took over with ease.
“I Got Mine” was the first track out of the gate. Off their 2008 album Attack & Release, the anthemic opening pulsed through the arena and brought the audience into the fold. Screaming and cheering and reciprocal singing of the lyrics filled the backdrop of the song.
Carney on the drums is a modest madman. He looks so comfortable as his arms attack those skins with effortless power and precision. He is present in the moment with a vague smirk on his face as his eyes comb the crowd.
Auerbach, in sunglasses, sinks into his guitar as he wills blues-laden goodness from its strings. He takes turns through the set, belting lyrics at the mic and then hunkered down in front of the row of stage amps, drawing the slightest feedback into the sonics. He is feeling the music and coaxing the tiniest details into each song; honing the focus of the laser.
The backdrop of the stage is notably lined with a bevvy of extremely talented musicians. The band is long-since a duo, they are a cohesive unit of musical mastery. Each song is layered with extra; extra guitar, extra instrumental harmony, extra depth.
The 2022 iteration of The Black Keys is an evolution from lo-fi blues rock duo energy into a blues rock jam band of expansive recreation. It is a delight to see them reinvent the music, like watching an orchestra reimagine punk rock classics; it just feels so right.
I was left in awe by the sets of all three bands. Varying subcategories of auditory stimulation, performing from their souls, with passion pouring from every turn.
The Black Keys did one more thing that brought a smile to my face, they had a date-specific poster for sale at their merch booth. I’m a sucker for show posters and this one was a beauty.
With that final piece of information, I can safely say that The Black Keys are without a doubt one of the good ones. One of the few bands that really shows up for themselves, their audience, and for the music itself.
Thank you to all three bands for a great night out. We hope you all come back real soon.
Check out our full gallery of photos from the show below.
Photos of The Black Keys + Band Of Horses + The Velveteers