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  • 5/5
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  • Gig date: 30th November 1999
  • Posted on 22nd February 2012 by

Getting on the top of the hill in the cold is a pain. Luckily, the snow has almost melted for the third sold out adventure of Ohio duo The Black Keys at Alexandra Palace. Awaiting their arrivial is punishing and every corner of London's largest venue is packed. This is testiment to how massive The Black Keys have become, however, an eleven-song hiatus from Band of Skulls goes some length to cooling the agitation. 

Despite Band of Skulls being painfully talented (highlights from the performance include You're Not Pretty But You Got It Goin' On and Diamonds And Pearls from their new album 'Sweet Sour'), the lights of success are on Mr Daniel Auerbach and Mr Patrick Carney tonight, joined for the occasion by a bassist and a guy on keys to help out over the 21-song stretch. The entire set from top to tale bulges with energy and sees the band play hits from each and every one of their previous releases, intertwined by more recent material from their latest supersmash 'El Camino'.


The gig starts out with Howlin' For You, followed promptly by Next Girl. These two songs lifted from 'Brothers' – aka the album that turned Black Keys into legends – are the perfect warm up to get the crowd in the right mood for two of their more recent efforts: Run Right Back and Dead and Gone.


It is during Dead and Gone that we see the duo accompanied by red lights and black + white videos screened on four monitors surrounding the stage. Gold On The Ceiling follows with Patrick showing exactly how it's done on the drums.


Just to make a brief note on how difficult reviewing a good gig can be, all I've found on my phone notes the next day are plaudits like :“epic drums, massive, huge vocals, WOW.” And a reasonable amount of * and # which were the stars to rate each song. Anyway, all those “epic" and "huge” plaudits were, in the end, completely spot on. 


Sixty minutes and a few beers later, Daniel and Patrick leave the stage to a rapturous fanfare, which gives me the opportunity to have a little look around the Alexandra Palace. In the process of getting lost a couple of times and struggling to find my friends on my way back to the stage, a giant mirrorball appears suddenly above the heads of the duo as they return for the encore, and illuminates every little space of Ally Pally with shards of awesomeness. As Dan tenderly sings Everlasting Light, it's a moment that can only be described as magical. The last song of the set is I Got Mine, but before that Dan talks for the very first time to the audience, thanking everyone for making their London hiatus such a brilliant stop in their tour.


Getting back to the bottom of the hill in the cold is terrible. Yet if there are a few bands out there that make this awful journey possible, then The Black Keys are definitely one of them.




Review - Alessia Parducci

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