Despite the scare quotes in the album title/tour name, the Black Keys’ ‘Let’s Rock’ outing kept fans on their feet for a brisk 90 minutes with nonstop rock on the Southern/boogie/garage/classic/pop spectrum.
Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney—backed by a full band that included Delicate Steve on second guitar (and frequent assistance from an audience that was game to contribute vocals, handclaps and stomps)—drew heavily from ‘Let’s Rock’, most memorably with “Lo/Hi” and “Walk Across The Water.” (Most miraculously, “Eagle Birds” and the accompanying footage of certain winged beasts didn’t tempt the Wells Fargo Center crowd to show off their spelling skills.)
Other highlights included key Brothers tracks like “Howlin’ For You,” “Tighten Up” and “Everlasting Light,” which used Auerbach’s falsetto to great effect, and a clutch of tunes from El Camino: “Gold On The Ceiling,” “Little Black Submarine” and the rousing “Lonely Boy,” which erased any lingering skepticism about the sincerity of the Black Keys’ determination to rock.
With her sultry voice, alt-rock/soul conscience and hard-charging guitar backing, Jessy Wilson was an intriguing and rewarding opener. In the middle slot, Modest Mouse sounded duller than you’d think a band with three competent drummers could possibly be.
—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich