The Black Keys at The Forum: living up to being one of America’s biggest rock bands

The Black Keys photos

If there is one major realization I made Thursday night at The Forum in Inglewood, it’s that The Black Keys are in the running for America’s most popular rock band.

As Thursday was an important day politically, it felt as though these Akron, Ohio-bred rockers were on the campaign trail themselves. After seeing them blow through an impressive sold-out set at one of Southern California’s larger indoor venues, one could certainly make the case that they are in the hunt. In fact, outside of the Foo Fighters, I can’t think of a single American rock band that is as wide appealing as Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney.

I say that after seeing people of every age rock out to their hits and deep cuts just the same. People who probably saw the best rock bands of the 70s and 80s in their prime were on their feet from the first riff to the last. A group of young girls — wearing ridiculous balloon animal hats — lost their MINDS like it was a One Direction concert when the band launched into “Howlin’ For You.” And here I thought this show would be mostly comprised of people in my age range whose rock appreciation may be defined by The Black Keys.

The band earned a nomination for me for best live cover song of the year by playing Edwyn Collins’ ’90s classic “A Girl Like You,” one of those songs you forgot you knew almost every word to. The main guitar lick in that song is right down vocalist and guitarist Auerbach’s alley and it fit perfectly into their set.

What makes The Black Keys perhaps so appealing to people of all ages is they have something for everyone. They’re a very jammy band at times and their elongated guitar solos play well to the older crowd. At the same time, they know how to write a proper hook and anthemic chorus, as evidenced by all the radio airplay they get.

The Black Keys photos

The stage at The Forum is bigger than many L.A. venues in itself (it looks like the size of The Roxy) and Auerbach took full advantage of it. He moved around and got as close to the packed floor as he could when the time was right. The visuals were pretty awesome as well as video screens moved up and down behind them, a big pop occurring when the banner that hung during the first few songs dropped to reveal a ton of bright lights.

There was very little banter between songs, with the most common thing being Auerbach asking for help to sing some of the more recognizable tunes. “Can you help us out, L.A.? Help us out, L.A. Can you help us out LA?” Auerbach said towards the end. Who knows, it could be a chorus to a new Black Keys song in the future.

Very few people left to beat the traffic and waited out the five or so minute delay before the encore. It was a three-song finish that culminated in the hit “Little Black Submarines,” sending everyone home a happy camper. For myself, excusing festivals, it was easily the largest show I’ve seen this year and The Black Keys were up to the task. Their sound definitely translates to the large-scale arenas and they’ll be on that circuit for a very long time if I had to guess.

Though he’s barely 20 years old, English rocker Jake Bugg was up to the task of opening for one of the biggest acts in rock these days in a massive arena.

After learning that Bugg is sort of mentored by Noel Gallagher and employed Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith on his latest album, I certainly had high expectations going in. Bugg lived up to that and I can certainly see where the Bob Dylan comparisons come from.

Bugg had a cool confidence about him and his guitar playing and songwriting is impressive for such a young age. It’s CRAZY to realize he and Justin Bieber are the same age (and both JBs). Personally, I’d suspect of the two that it is Bugg who will have a long illustrious career.

Check out the photos below of the Black Keys with Jake Bugg at the Forum!

Words: Mark E. Ortega

Photography: Monique Hernandez

The Black Keys photos
The Black Keys

The Black Keys photos
The Black Keys

The Black Keys photos
The Black Keys

The Black Keys photos
The Black Keys

The Black Keys photos
The Black Keys

 

Jake Bugg photos
Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg photos
Jake Bugg

Want more photos? Check out the photo gallery below!

One thought on “The Black Keys at The Forum: living up to being one of America’s biggest rock bands

  1. Pingback: Ten Best Live Cover Songs of 2014 - Grimy Goods

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *