Some dudes just want to rock, and that’s exactly what a couple of guys that make up The Black Keys do.
In support of their fifth full-length LP Attack & Release, The Black Keys recorded their April 4, 2008 concert performance at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. Produced and directed by Lance Bangs (R.E.M.’s Road Movie, Nirvana: With The Lights Out), Live At The Crystal Ballroom captures the gritty blues flavor the band (Dan Auerbach – vocals, guitar; Patrick Carney – drums) is known for.
Attack & Release is the byproduct of a collaboration between the Akron, Ohio duo and Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) while the three worked with Ike Turner on a separate album. The combination of using an actual studio, working with Danger Mouse, and being able to run amok cultivated enormous creativity to which fans can now see up-close in the live set. The DVD also includes a short video of the recording sessions for A&R.
There’s nothing like experiencing a band live, and The Black Keys give it all to their audience, as seen in the very personal camera angles and shots of the duo. Auerbach and Carney exude so much energy on stage, and it’s apparent in the music as well. Seeing them perform adds a whole new dimension to the band because of how much focus and oomph they put into their music.
They appear exhausted near the midpoint but seeing as how they cram seventeen songs into a scant hour-long set would be draining. That said, there isn’t much dialogue to the audience by Auerbach or Carney, unfortunately, who jam through each song one by one.
Among the set’s highlights are “Girl Is On My Mind” and “Your Touch” which both showcase the band’s blues rock sensibilities at their finest. Among the DVD’s highlights are the three little-seen, but still cool music videos for “Your Touch” (with accompanying behind-the-scenes making-of video that includes many fake bullet charges), “Just Got To Be,” and “Strange Times.” The latter video has the backdrop of a friendly game of laser tag.