Indie rock and arena shows may seem like polar opposites, but The Black Keys have found a way to bridge the two almost seamlessly. From playing their first show as a band in front of eight people to selling out New York City’s Madison Square Garden in 15 minutes, the duo, featuring guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, have made it their mission to rescue rock ‘n’ roll from the likes of Nickelback.
“Rock ‘n’ roll is dying because people became okay with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world,” Carney told Rolling Stone. “So they became okay with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world.”
Auerbach and Carney’s efforts to knock Nickelback off their pedestal have been fairly impressive. Both groups released new albums last year, and while Nickelback’s sold 227,000 copies in the first week of release, The Black Keys’ El Camino sold 206,000.
El Camino cemented the band as important rock musicians in a scene flooded with one-hit wonders, with Michael Hann of The Guardian writing that “they sound like a band who think they’ve made the year’s best rock ‘n’ roll album, probably because that’s exactly what they’ve done.”
And while their success may appear to have occurred overnight, the duo have been recording music together since 2002 and have released seven albums since.
“We were so far removed from the music and entertainment industry,” Auerbach said. “We were just trying to please ourselves.”
Brothers, the group’s 2006 release, won them a commercial breakthrough, third place on the Billboard 200 charts, and three Grammy awards, including Best Alternative Music Album.
“It’s been so gradual that you don’t notice it,” Carney told The Guardian. “And then one day you look out and the audience consists of 65,000 people.”
They aren’t, however, taking their success for granted and after spending years recording in basements and abandoned tyre-manufacturing factories, are struck by every perk that comes with being a rock star.
“You get to bring your own sound system when you play an arena, all the lights and visual stuff, which I think is really cool,” Auerbach told The Chicago Tribune.
They’ll be bringing their show to Copenhagen next week, when they take over TAP1. With room for up to 6,000 people, the concert hall can almost be described as intimate, as The Black Keys have entertained crowds of more than 18,000 in New York City.
And according to a concert review published in Canada’s National Post, “The Black Keys proved that two guys with just a guitar and a drum set are more than enough to fill an arena.
The Black Keys
Ny Carlsbergvej 91
1760 Cph V
Monday 20:00; Tickets 340kr;