The struggle that any band faces when they play a weekday show is whether or not the crowd is going to be pumped enough for a rock show on a school night. Luckily The Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys didn’t suffer from that at the Bradley Center last Wednesday where the crowd came with weekend enthusiasm.
Although it wasn’t exactly like they really ever had a choice. High energy opener The Arctic Monkeys basically forced people to rock out. Their very unique style of fast British pop is definitely the type that gets people out of their seats and gets them moving. And if you ever thought about taking a song off to recover, lead singer Alex Turner got right in everyone’s face about it, constantly urging the crowd for more. The Arctic Monkeys brought the house down when they played “Fluorescent Adolescent” of their 2007 album “My Favorite Worst Nightmare”. They left the stage to thunderous applause and chants of encore, but the curse of being the opener is that you get the crowd to the point where they want more, but you don’t get to give it to them.
The Black Keys definitely gave it to the crowd and were on their A game. Not only did they put on a stellar show with ravenous percussion and toe curling guitar riffs, provided by Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach respectively, they also had an excellent stage show to boot. The stage show included: a big screen behind the band that projected a 50 foot drum kit and 50 foot Dan all in red on the side of the stage, two giant disco balls which turned the Bradley Center into a disco for the encore, and warm flood lights that at times strobed along with the beat of the music creating an amazingly visceral experience. Finishing their set with “Tighten Up” and “Lonely Boy”, there is no wonder why the now frenzied Bradley Center crowd didn’t sit down until they came back for their encore, returning to the aforementioned disco balls. That feeling you get at the end of a great show that rocked you to the core when all the lights come on and you turn around not really wanting to leave is what The Black Keys have been leaving fans with for the better part of the last decade, and it is what has made them one of the best touring bands around. They don’t disappoint. Ever.