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Interview:
Success creates challenges for Black Keys' set lists
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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After eight albums, putting together a concert is no simple exercise for the Black Keys.

The Akron-formed duo singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney has hit big in recent years with rock radio chart-toppers such as "Tighten Up," "Lonely Boy," "Gold on the Ceiling" and this year's "Fever," but its slow build to arena-filling fame has brought along plenty of longtime fans who still want to hear songs from 2002's "The Big Come Up" and other early albums. Carney says it's a conundrum he and Auerbach still grapple with.

"I think our sensibilities of making a set list have changed," explains Carney, 34. "For a long time there were no songs that we HAD to play; we didn't have any known songs, really. I can string similarities between our first record and our new record. You can say, like, (the new) 'Gotta Get Away' is similar to a song like 'Yearnin' " on our first record.

"But when you get a wider perspective of our catalog I think even though it's all basically rock, it's kind of an eclectic mix, and sometimes it's hard to fit in some of those songs in the context of some of the songs that we have to play.

"So that's been something we've been talking about in the past, like what songs we should be playing. We would never have that conversation (before); we would just write a set list and do it."

This year's "Turn Blue, the first Black Keys album to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, gives the duo -- which is abetted by two additional musicians in concert -- another 11 songs to work with. And the album's different flavors, some funkier and some mellower than the group has released before, makes the mix even more challenges.

"Dan and I write the records in the studio, so the version that's on the album we've probably only played once or twice," Carney says. "So it's cool to finally get out there and play them for people.

"The songs kind of evolve a little bit, too; different parts kind of shake out better live or disintegrate and we change them into something that will work. The song 'Turn Blue, which is a real slow jam we were nervous about playing, seemed to be going over pretty well in front of pretty huge crowds this summer, so it's pretty cool to have something like that, that we weren't sure would work."

The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12

Joe Louis Arena, 19 Steve Yzerman Drive, Detroit

Tickets are $35-$75

Call 313-471-6606

or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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