American musician Dan Auerbach of rock band The Black Keys performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on November 24th 2019 © Jamie Taylor

Live Review: The Black Keys + Modest Mouse @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver – November 24th 2019

American rock band The Black Keys brought their “Let’s Rock” tour through Vancouver on Sunday night with help from Portland-based band Modest Mouse.

Band front person Isaac Brock lead his modest mass of musicians through an intense, career-spanning set.

The well-oiled troupe built cohesive sonic walls lined with Isaac’s wrenching vocals.

Mid-set they pulled out an old favourite in “Dramamine” from their debut 1996 album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. Shouting out those infamous lyrics to a completely captivated arena – “I’ve said what I’d said and you know what I mean / But I still can’t focus on anything / We kiss on the mouth but still cough down our sleeves” – they solidified themselves as the icons they are.

Modest Mouse setlist

The World at Large
Interstate 8
Poison the Well
Pups to Dust
Autumn Beds
King Rat
This Devil’s Workday
Float On
The Tortoise and the Tourist
Out of Gas
Grey Ice Water
Tiny Cities Made of Ashes

American musician Isaac Brock of rock band Modest Mouse performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on November 24th 2019 © Jamie Taylor

The wheel was then firmly grasped by the headliners for the night.

Lead singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney walked out on stage with their cast of supporting musicians in tow.

An enormous illuminated sign lowered behind the performers with four-foot-tall glowing letters spelling out the Ohio-born band’s name, The Black Keys.

The night opened on “I Got Mine” from their 2008 release, Attack & Release. We were off on a sonic journey showcasing the matured auditory prowess of an eighteen-year vintaged twosome surrounded by top-tier touring musicians. Their efforts filled the arena with sounds so sweet they tickled the nape of your neck.

American drummer Patrick Carney of rock band The Black Keys performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on November 24th 2019 © Jamie Taylor

Dan’s guitar work was both visually effortless and emotionally explosive. Each note purposefully manipulated as he coaxed the instrument’s voice through the vintage amp stack behind him. His face seemingly connected to the strings, contorting in unison. Always a pleasure to hear and see.

Patrick was possessed by the music as his pounded at his drums. His eyes combing around the audience with his arms and legs creating a punchy, guttural foundation to every track of the night. He was also explosive but with a more aggressive drive, the occasional smile cracking from his lips. Just a well-polished machine that was doing something that he loves.

The symbiotic musicianship displayed by this group was astounding. Each one a master of their craft coming together to ebb and flow and build these soundscapes.

I walked out of the venue completely content, a great night of music.

I want to say thank you to both bands and their teams behind the scenes. Come back soon and come back often.

The Black Keys setlist

I Got Mine
Eagle Birds
Tell Me Lies
Gold on the Ceiling
Next Girl
Fire Walk With Me
Walk Across the Water
Everlasting Light
Howlin’ for You
10 A.M. Automatic
Your Touch
Strange Times
Tighten Up
Ten Cent Pistol
Little Black Submarines
Lonely Boy

She’s Long Gone

ps. Check out the killer date-specific poster created by Toronto-based artist Miles Tsang for this show!

Photos © Jamie Taylor // Cryptic Photography

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