Nicole Atkins/Booker T. Jones/The Black Keys, White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN, June 10, 2011

I am envious of everyone who was able to attend this show – Booker T. Jones and the Black Keys!? Are you freaking kidding me!? – but we are fortunate enough to have this great review and fantastic photos from Jessi Smith. Thanks so much, Jessi.




As I type this The Black Keys are in the midst of their tour of Canada, where they seem to get a lot more recognition than around here. They get invited to perform at Canadian awards shows, unlike here where they have to accept their Grammy’s during the pre-show. America is coming around though. Less frequently am I met with blank stares and well meaning corrections of, “Do you mean the Black Eyed Peas?” when I mention their name. However, with shows like the one I went to in Indianapolis on June 10th under their belts, they’re going to be household names before you can say “That’s not how you say Auerbach”. Then all the hipsters can hate them for selling out, which I won’t mind because the fewer faux fan douchebags that like them the better.



A $5 skip the line pass and a GA ticket. That’s all it took to set in motion what would be the best concert I’d ever attended. The competition for that title isn’t light either, not only had I seen The Black Keys in 2010 but, Bob Dylan and B.B. King had also given me shows to remember. The weather was perfect, a nice breeze blew and I was pressed against the barrier directly in front of center stage, nothing between me and the band but a one foot patch of grass. The show opened up with Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea, who played a set that was lovely and was enjoyed. Next up legendary Booker T. Jones who charmed me and made me feel more than a little ashamed that I’d initially been a bit disappointed that Cage the Elephant wouldn’t be opening for this show. I was an ungrateful and uneducated fan who won’t ever make that mistake again.



With the backbeat of GZA’s “Liquid Swords” playing, Dan and Pat calmly walked out and took their places. After the customary “We are The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio” they proceeded to do what they do. “Thickfreakness” came first as the opener as expected. I hope that never changes. It’s a constant in the Black Keys shows that makes me feel like a ground floor fan. They did the “Stack Shot Billy” / “Busted” back-to-back that was beyond words. The energy they put into “Busted” exploded after well built tension and extended riffs.



We also got a special treat. About midway through the show Dan announced that they were going to do something a little different. With an almost giddy smile he told us that they’d be having Booker T. join them for a couple songs. As they played “Ten Cent Pistol” with Booker, the boys had us hanging onto every note. The smooth line, “…the couple screamed but it was far too late, a jealous heart did retaliate.” was followed by the sudden blackout of every light and complete silence from the band for what seemed like forever. The anticipation boiled over and at just the right moment they burst back and blew minds. Another little treat came during “Everlasting Light” when a giant disco ball rose from the stage and made the place positively twinkle. This isn’t a band where you expect that kind of thing and I’m not gonna lie, my fangirl came out and I loved it. It wouldn’t be the first appearance of my fangirl, what with my front and center position and Dan’s frequent trips to the edge of the stage (where I’m certain we made eye contact… just throwing that out there) All together they played nearly 20 songs and still I didn’t want it to end. They encored with “Sinister Kid” and “Your Touch”, then bade us goodnight.



And here I am, still talking about it.


Bits: Booker T. Jones, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown, The Kills, Strand of Oaks, The Imperial Rooster,

  • Booker T. Jones’ new album The Road from Memphis is out today. You can see and hear his recent Tiny Desk Concert for NPR here.
  • Fantasy Records will be putting out a Buddy Holly tribute album, Rave On Buddy Holly, on June 28, and the contributor list is wild. You can hear the Black Keys’ contribution, a cover of “Dearest”, here. And if you visit Liza Richardson’s May 7 KCRW show, you can hear Modest Mouse’s take on “That’ll Be the Day” (at the 6:00 mark) and Cee-Lo doing “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” (around 36:35).
  • A free 8-song sampler from artists on Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown Tour, including Austin Lucas, is available from iTunes.
  • Take a trip over to Vinyl Hounds to see a cool mini documentary about the Kills.
  • KDHX has a live in-studio set from the always beautiful Strand of Oaks.
  • A reminder that our friends The Imperial Rooster will be playing at El Farol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 10 at 6 PM MST and the set will be broadcast live on Radio Free Santa Fe (you can catch it on the web at the Radio Free Santa Fe website or in the Santa Fe area on 98.1). They will also be a part of the Thirsty Ear Festival going on in Santa Fe June 10-12. They’ll be joining the likes of Calexico, the Handsome Family, the Cedric Burnside Project and many more.

Bits: TV on the Radio, Booker T. Jones, J Mascis, Mark Lanegan, Royal Bangs, Patrick Sweany, CXCW, etc.

  • TV on the Radio’s Gerard Smith was diagnosed with lung cancer at the conclusion of recording for the new TVoTR album Nine Types of Light and will be unable to accompany the band on their current tour. A statement on the band’s website throws a hopeful light on Smith’s recovery, and we are sending good thoughts Smith’s way.
  • Head over to the Rolling Stone website to get a taste of the new Booker T. Jones album as he and the Roots cover Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything”.
  • NYC’s Bowery Ballroom will play host to a show celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite books, Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life, on May 22.
  • The 2nd installment of Oxford American’s ABALABIP! concert series celebrating Alabama music and music makers will take place on June 4 in Florence, Alabama, and will feature Dexateens, G-Side and Candi Staton.
  • J Mascis’ new acoustic album, Several Shades of Why, is streaming at Spin.
  • A new Mark Lanegan track, “Burning Jacob’s Ladder”, is free to download on the Rage website.
  • And a new Royal Bangs track, “Fireball”, is free to download at Spin.
  • Patrick Sweany has added more tour dates including some in Austin this week.
  • Speaking of Austin, can’t make it to SXSW this year and envious of your friends who are hitting up Austin? Want to show just how hip you are by not going to SXSW? Then CXCW – Couch by Couchwest – is the event for you. While the so-called mover and shakers are standing in long lines and getting alcohol poisoning, the CXCW crowd will be drinking beer, ordering pizza and moving as little as possible. Join the thrill ride on Twitter and Tumblr. CXCW – Where the beer is cheaper and the only hipster is you.

Bits: Railroad Revival Tour, SXSW, Raekwon, Booker T. Jones, Shivering Timbers

  • Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros will be kicking off the Railroad Revival Tour on April 21. The bands will travel by train across the southwestern United States and perform at outdoor venues in California, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana. Not quite as fun as the Roots on the Rails shows since the audience won’t get to travel on the train with the bands, but a unique and cool gimmick nonetheless.
  • Our friends at will be throwing a couple of fine parties at SXSW this year – on March 18 and 19 – featuring artists like Caitlin Rose, Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Two Cow Garage, the Only Sons and more. Details here.
  • If you can stand heading over to MySpace, you can stream Raekwon’s new album Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang.
  • Booker T. Jones will be releasing a new album, The Road from Memphis, on May 10. THe album is produced by Jones, ?uestlove and Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith), and Jones is backed by the Roots.
  • Shivering Timbers will be in the WRUW studios on March 31 around 5 PM EST. Listen via the internet here.

Happy Mardi Gras! Laissez les bons temps rouler, y’all.