The Black Keys are one of the most prolific, influential and successful bands of the past 20 years. Something special happens when the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney create music and further their discography as the Black Keys. They win Grammy’s and sell out stadiums all across the world. But what happens when other sonic avenues are explored? What happens when lead singer Dan Auerbach starts working on another project, under a different name, and goes all in on a fusion of elements ripped from the pages of psychedelic rock, hip hop and soul music.
You get The Arcs. You get surprisingly low numbers in both Billboard charts and streaming numbers. But the music is absolutely sublime. It’s warm and personal while being extremely deep rooted and atmospheric. Has the general public not caught on yet? Or are they not interested in an album that feels more like an drug fueled cruise through the desert than a Black Keys “side project” album?
My confusion continued when tickets for the Boston tour stop on December 12 were selling on StubHub.com for $6. I couldn’t believe it. I had bought tickets two months in advance for 40 dollars apiece and the night before the show they were six freaking dollars?! I bought four more tickets and called some of my self-proclaimed huge Black Keys fan friends. They had no idea about the Arcs and were even skeptical about going to the show. But from the minute that Dan Auerback took the stage to the last few notes of the encore, they were locked in. I have never seen so many open seats at the Orpheum Theatre before the set started, but by shows end it was a full house from what I could tell.
The show was nothing short of amazing, playing nearly every song off their full-length album Yours, Dreamily and their six-track EP The Arcs vs. The Inventors. The back-lighting of the stage set the mood for the first half of the concert before the tripped out visuals started to flow heavily.
Dan Auerbach is continuing to show that he is an extremely talented musician but what he has going right now with the Arcs is more of an experience than just music.