Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saw The Artic Monkeys and Black Keys

So, last night we (my wife and I) saw the aforementioned bands at Merriweather Post Pavillion  . I have start with how great the venue was. Picture a great, natural park; Giant Trees, a babbling brook or two, nice shady grass bits, you get the idea. Now, put an Amphitheatre in the middle. Ring the place with homespun looking installation Art and Carnival style Food and vendor booths. Yeah, that's a nice place for some Rocknroll, huh? I thought so.
A lot of people were there, and not my usual crowd, to be sure, The Black Keys seem to draw a lot of  Baby Boomers, Meatheads and Neo-Hippies. However, there were also a fair number of indie hipsters, and a few Punkers, who, while not my usual crowd, either ( I'm more of an Aging Slacker type)  made it feel a little less alien.  Still, Rocknroll, good site, and my wife, it's all good.
I will say that The Arctic Monkeys finally make sense to me. The live sound was turbo charged retrorock. They're not so very different from some bands I've liked in the past, at least in intent. They're fueled by the bands that obsess them, and trying to cram in all the magic from that into their lives. It's not like being in a tribute band- it's being fully charged by incredible rock music, and trying to convey what that gives to you, filtered through who you are.  So, ultimately what you're sharing isn't a tribute to the bands, but your perspective.
The Black Keys on the other hand, while a great band, are trying to actually be the bands and music they love. I don't have anything against that, but that doesn't affect me as much, either. Of course, the best of all possibilities is when the band  is trying to bring something entirely new into the world, and I'm sure all bands think they are, but all fail, most of the time. Why I like the Arctic Monkeys more than the Black Keys is how much closer they get to doing something really new. It's subtle, I know, and what's not so subtle is the difference in fashion and tempo, so I can see why people in the audience seemed to prefer the Black Keys- the comfort of the familiar trumps the thrill of exploration- and the equation for the Black Keys leans heavier on the familiar, whereas even the familiar elements of the Arctic Monkeys are familiar to a much smaller, much stranger group of people, and I'm one of them

1 comment:

  1. One other thing should be noted- my wife arranged the tickets- she's a massive Black Keys fan, I think because she like the blooz rock swagger, and she thinks they're good looking- so we got front row tickets- close enough that I'm 85% certain we were right next to Pat Carney during most of the Arctic Monkeys set- if it wasn't the drummer from the Black Keys then it was a lookalike with the same t shirt and glasses. I didn't ask because he seemed to be having time with his rather short hippie girlfriend. I know that makes a difference in terms of how you see a show...