Black Keys play cowardly and dangerously during group’s ‘World Tour of America’ St. Pete shutdown

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The Black Keys play Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, Fla. On September 21, 2021.Ray roa

It’s no surprise that no one can find six feet to themselves during Tuesday night’s Black Keys sold-out concert at Jannus Live. The St. Petersburg judgment was one of the three dates on a “World Tour of America” announced after the Keys the summer arena tour has been canned in response to the coronavirus. The concert sold out minutes after it went on sale, and the more than 2,000 people gathered to see the boys from Akron, Ohio, were treated to an opening barrage of their most rowdy.

The Keys, backed by drummer Patrick Carney whose oversized bass drum was big and loud as usual, went through his first four songs in less than 15 minutes before guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach attached an acoustic to slow down the sounds. stuff about the intro to “Little Black Submarines”, a song the first half of which borrows heavily from Zeppelin before the band tune in for the Skynrd-esque coda.

If there’s one hit to the 18-song set, it’s that Keys songs – despite Auerbach’s fiery guitar work and respect for the Delta blues – can sometimes sound like a Bud Light commercial or Jeep, except the ads are usually only 60 seconds long. long time or less. Fortunately, the Keys had a surprise: a meaty mid-set with guitarist Kenny Brown and bassist Eric Deaton joining Carney and Auerbach for six steamy songs that were loose and sometimes sloppy in the best possible way.

Brown and Deaton are both longtime members of groups led by blues gods RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. The new Keys album Delta Kream is a tribute to the genre and draws on covers of Burnside and Kimbrough. The 60 minutes the lineup spent on stage together included songs by these icons and was rooted in a respect for the deep black roots of Mississippi music without air, pretense or appropriation. Auerbach’s nasal bark during Ranie Burnette’s “Crawling Kingsnake”, “Poor Boy Long Way From Home”, “Stay All Night” and “Coal Black Mattie” was virtually impossible to decipher, which served the songs well.

Instead of singing the lyrics like he did loud during “Howlin ‘For You”, “Gold On the Ceiling” and “Lonely Boy”, closer to the encore, Jannus Live was left to live in the amorphous slides and Deaton’s loose rhythm. by Carney and Deaton. That meant some people were heading for the washroom, but those who stayed around were treated to an hour of rock house that you could hear coming out of a ’70s Oldsmobile Cutlass (the same car that’s in the Photo by William Eggleston “Delta Kream” on the new Keys album). It was like a bar in this open air place; and even through a KN95 you might feel a whiff of joints circulating.

Most striking and disturbing about being at this gig with 2,000 people in the hours following another atypical summer storm in Florida was how normal and good it was. The loose play of the Keys and the laid back energy of the crowd demanded another $ 6 beer, or three. It required sharing spliffs and putting your arms around the stranger next to you. It was nice to share the space, but getting out of some of the deadliest months from Florida’s approach to the coronavirus, standing two feet apart – shoulder to shoulder in a space where only about 5% of participants were masked – felt unsafe. And like the new heads of state double their mandates “no more fear” as hospital workers bend under the pressure of the pandemic fight, going to sold-out concerts is still a gamble. But the lure of the crawling king snake (non-poisonous, by the way) is sometimes hard to resist, and around 2,000 entered the snake’s lair on Tuesday. Just consider yourself lucky if you escaped his bite.

Black Keys Jannus Live setlist, St. Petersburg, September 21

I have mine
Screaming for you
Your contact
Gold on the ceiling
Small black submarines

Crawling Kingsnake (Big Joe Williams / John Lee Hooker)
Poor Boy Far From Home (Bukka White / Howlin ‘Wolf)
Stay the night away (Junior Kimbrough)
Charbon Noir Mattie (Ranie Burnette)
Go down south
Make the rump

Next girl
Have love will travel
To squeeze
Fever
She’s long gone

Bis
Low / Hi
Lonely boy

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