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Critic's Choice

Black Keys

There's a scrappy two-piece from the Rust Belt that works from a minimal palette of drums and guitar, bashing them into an unpretentious cacophony of masterful rock, culling elements from Delta blues and classic soul, and overlaying the whole with the guitarist's wailing, manic vocals. And, just for the record, neither of them is named Meg or Jack. They're the Black Keys, who appear on Saturday, June 14, at Red Rocks, with Beck and Dashboard Confessional. The Akron, Ohio-based duo's version of blues-inflected rock is as raw and muddy and full of blind lust as anything that erupted from the Delta masters of old. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach's anguished moan belies his twenty-odd years; he seems to be channeling the same demon who added Robert Johnson's soul to his collection so long ago. And Patrick Carney's rapid-fire, booming kick-drum renders the band's lack of a bass player moot. The sleazy, greasy brand of fuzzed-out music these two create contains enough secret passageways and hidden doors that it never sounds like the tired white-boy dreck usually associated with blues-rock. Rather, the members' relative youth allows them to approach the well-worn path of the blues from a skewed, insolent perspective, injecting a punk-rock slant into a dusty, if venerated, genre that's badly in need of such an infusion.

 
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