With a slow beginning as an American blues-rock band, The Black Keys have found their blues-rock niche with their 2010 album Brothers.
Their unique sound brings an attitude and swagger to blues-rock that caused audiences to sit up, or rather slouch down, and get deep into the beat of jams like Tighten Up.
Hailing from Akron, Ohio, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney began the bands distinct sound by covering classics like “She Said, She Said” – originally performed by The Beatles – on their first album The Big Come Up.
In an interview with NPR, Carney revealed that their biggest influences were the repetitive hooks of blues, classic rock and a bond over Wu-Tang Clan samples. Carney noted The Black Keys’ modest beginnings as a four-track recorder, a guitar, and a drum set. When they set about to record, the rest of the band didn’t show and the result is the soulful two-man band.
The evolution of the band is evident after listening to their songs – with more experience the music becomes more brash and passionate, making an instant hit of Brothers.
“Before ‘Tighten Up’ [from Brothers], we’d never had a real song regularly played on rock radio. We didn’t have that support, and getting these songs in commercials was almost like having your song on the radio,” said Auerbach to NPR.
Much of their success can be credited to commercialization with their songs playing in advertisements from Nissan to Tommy Hilfilger and the Twilight Eclipse movie soundtrack.
Although debate continues over whether The Black Keys sound is getting too clean or is still gritty enough, Auerbach tells Esquire that they just don’t care – its all about good tunes.
“Everybody has a different point of view, and pretty much everybody’s an idiot. I think everybody’s an idiot,” Auerbach said. “Pat thinks everybody’s an idiot. You think everybody’s an idiot. Okay? That’s how it is. Welcome to fucking reality.”
The Black Keys play the MBNA stage on Friday, July 8 at 9:30 p.m.
— Photo courtesy of Diana Wong