The Black Keys blasted through a set full of their career-spanning hits Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, pleasing fans new and old. The powerhouse duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney were joined on stage by Richard Swift on bass and John Wood on keys. Starting off with the punchy beat of “Dead and Gone” to the thick bass line of “Next Girl” and then the twangy slide of “Run Right Back,” The Keys had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Being thoroughly warmed up, Dan Auerbach removed his leather jacket getting more comfortable in a plain white tee. The curtain hanging behind the band dropped away suddenly, revealing a set of glaring spotlights that illuminated the energetic crowd as the band launched into the gritty “Same Old Thing.” Fans were totally pumped up for “Gold On the Ceiling” and a haunting version of “Strange Times.”

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Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys – Wells Fargo Center 9/20

While the Black Keys aren’t showy performers, they’re a solid rock and roll band whose strength is crafting modern blues anthems. I thought to myself at many points during the show that the Black Keys sound unstoppable. Even after 12 years together and 8 studio albums, they haven’t lost that raw, gritty quality that drew me to their sound years ago. They dug up their roots on “Leavin’ Trunk” the old blues cover from their 2002 debut album, The Big Come Up. The only low point of the set was a slow version of “Too Afraid To Love You” but the energy soared for the second half of the set. At one point Auerbach addressed the Philly crowd saying, “You’re a rowdy bunch! You guys got attitude problems… I like it!” And the rowdy fans exploded for the last 3 songs of the set “Tighten Up,” “Your Touch,” and “Lonely Boy.”

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Patrick Carney of The Black Keys

The 3-song encore included two from their recent release Turn Blue, the album with a decidedly psychedelic sensibility. “The Weight of Love” is my favorite song from the new album, and I was happy to hear it performed live. I wondered how this sexy 70’s psych jam would translate in a live show, and I was thoroughly satisfied. Next was the title track from Turn Blue, and with the swirled circle album cover art spinning in the background, it made for a trippy ride. For “Little Black Submarines” the stage was completely black, with a single spotlight shining down on Auerbach as he slowly strummed his acoustic. The entire crowd was singing along to the verses, and by the time Auerbach broke out the electric guitar with the rest of the band behind him, the masses were in a craze.

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Dan Auerbach

Cage the Elephant started off the night, throwing everything they had into their modern rock set. This is a band that MUST be seen live. As they tore through their hits “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” “Back Against the Wall” and “Come a Little Closer,” lead singer Matt Shultz put on his own show of leaping across the stage and shirtless crowd surfing. If I had the authority, I would give this man the title of Hardest Working Man in Modern Rock. Local guy Nick Bockrath, who joined Cage on tour in 2013, rocked his guitar in a snazzy sequined jacket, coming out to the front of the stage a few times to address the hometown audience.

Cage The Elephant Frontman Matt Shultz - Wells Fargo 9/20/14

Cage The Elephant Frontman Matt Shultz – Wells Fargo 9/20/14

Black Keys Setlist:

  1. Dead and Gone
  2. Next Girl
  3. Run Right Back
  4. Same Old Thing
  5. Gold on the Ceiling
  6. Strange Times
  7. Nova Baby
  8. Leavin’ Trunk
  9. Too Afraid to Love You
  10. Howlin’ for You
  11. A Girl Like You 
(Edwyn Collins cover)
  12. Money Maker
  13. Gotta Get Away
  14. She’s Long Gone
  15. Fever
  16. Tighten Up
  17. Your Touch
  18. Lonely Boy

Encore:

Weight of Love
Turn Blue
Little Black Submarines

Full Show Gallery