REVIEW: The Black Keys live at Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

Reporter Andrew Trendell went to see the Black Keys rock Nottingham Arena.

The last time I saw The Black Keys was in the beer-and-sweat-stained, humble but raucous setting of Rock City.

It suited the band perfectly: two dudes, four walls and a whole lotta noise. However, the venue was bursting at the seams, and it was clear the band were on the brink of exploding into a world of bigger and better things.

And so we find ourselves here; straining our eyes to catch a decent view of The Black Keys in the cavernous hangar-like Capital FM Arena.

Opening with the infectious Howlin’ For You, there’s a beauty to the two-piece’s undeniable knack of making the simplest of elements seem compelling. With just guitar, drums, a pocketful of phat riffs and hooky beats, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney are a true force to be reckoned with.

Kicking into the fast and furious Strange Times, the intense focus on these two figures in such a massive venue serves them well. It’s as clear as day during the filthy fun of Your Touch when you find yourself paying a huge amount of attention to the minor details of their near-primal approach. Your senses are heightened and your feet never stop moving.

Sadly, some of the magic is lost on vast swathes of the crowd. While the duo are on top form throughout the proceedings, there seems to be a bit of a lull from the audience towards the middle of the set where the awesome and acerbic bite of their older material falls on the deaf ears of legions of new fans who seem a bit uninterested.

Of the 20 songs played tonight, a staggering 15 are from their two latest records, and the most passionate responses of the night are saved for the glorious new single Gold On The Ceiling and instant classic Lonely Boy.

I could spend the end of this review pining for the old days and cursing the ignorance of these new faces in the crowd, but the Black Keys have fought hard for over a decade to earn a following of this size. Tonight’s ambitious performance was that of a band on their victory rally. Their next lap will see bring even bigger and better things, and I’ll certainly see you there too.