Last night, American duo The Black Keys graced the fine people of Manchester with irresistible rockand bluesy ballads at the AO Arena and it was nothing short of phenomenal, showcasing the exceptional talent that’s made them one of the most prolific bands of the last two decades.
Their ‘Dropout Boogie Tour’ was supported by fellow rockers Spoon and found them in the UK for a limited run of just three shows, London, Glasgow and, of course, Manchester. This was all on the back of their latest album release in 2022, which gained modest reviews.
Whatever you made of their last record, there isn’t much you can question about their live performance. Straight from the go, the show was electrifying, with the opening song ‘I Got Mine’ leaving the crowd screaming for more — I was definitely one of them.
The Black Keys brought a slice of that quintessential southern American blues-rock to the AO on Thursday night, taking us on a real sonic journey, weaving through different styles and more rock and roll sounds to those deeper, swampy tones that we’ve explored throughout their decorated career.
Their retro-inspired sound harkened back to a golden era of American music as they even covered some proper classics like ‘Crawling King Snake’ by delta-blues singer, Big Joe Williams, as well as ‘Have Love, Will Travel’ — which may only rattle around in your head has an advert song, but was originally recorded all the way back in 1959 by R&B singer, Richard Berry.
They really leaned into those unmistakable bluesy, rock and roll roots and it really paid off because the whole vibe and reaction from the crowd was absolutely infectious.
The guitar mastery and soulful vocals displayed by lead singer, Dan Auerbach, were nothing short of awe-inspiring, but towards the final few songs he had to cut one short to call out, as Dan called him, a “beefcake”, that was being aggressive, pushy and putting a general “negative energy”.
Dan said he’s not about that and neither are we or any of the Mancs who went along to watch, and he was met with rapturous applause when he declared: “That’s not how we do it at a rock and roll show”. Big respect to him for that.
By the time the encore came around, there was a single person not up on their feet and partying. They began with their 2011 track, ‘Little Black Submarine’ — which seemed ominously fitting considering the latest news headlines — starting slow but ending heavy and leading perfectly into the final jam and iconic hit, ‘Lonely Boy’.
It was obviously always going to end like that, being their most popular song, and for good reason. The show had already reached a euphoric climax which meant everyone was dancing and singing their hearts out. By the time the song finished, I truly wished I could’ve done it all over again.
What a gig and what a night. It was truly an unforgettable experience that will be etched in my mind forever. The night wasn’t over for everyone, though, as the band actually headed to YES for their popular record hang after-party, where they DJ’d on vinyl into the early hours of the morning.
Sadly, for us, it was bedtime — some of us have work in the morning and we’d already partied plenty all night long. We will most definitely be seeing The Black Keys again the next time they’re in Manchester.
Featured Image — The Manc Group/The Black Keys (via Instagram)
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and The Lathums both announce huge Wigan gigs
Two more massive gigs have just been announced at Robin Park in Wigan, with both Noel Gallagher and The Lathums gigging on home turf.
There’ll be five huge shows at the new 11,500-capacity home of Wigan Warriors across the summer of 2024.
Also announced already are gigs from James Arthur, and two nights for Richard Ashcroft.
Noel Gallagher‘s High Flying Birds will be headlining on Thursday 18 July, following the release of their fourth studio album, Council Skies.
The band, fronted by the former Oasis legend, also sold out a huge homecoming gig at Manchester’s Wythenshawe Park last August bank holiday weekend.
Opening the run of gigs at Robin Park will be former X Factor champion James Arthur, who has scored four top 10 albums, and collaborated with the likes of Anne-Marie, Sigala, Rudimental, Marshmello and many more.
Up next will be Wigan locals The Lathums, with their biggest headline show to date on Friday 19 July.
They’ll be supported by very special guests Jake Bugg and Brooke Combe, in an emotional, celebratory homecoming that will show off their two chart-topping albums in the town they grew up in.
Richard Ashcroft closes the series, in his first Wigan gig in over 25 years, which has driven such demand that a second date has been added.
He said: “After 25 years, I’m back playing in my hometown. Looking forward to an amazing night in Wigan.”
Wigan’s musical history ranges from the emergence of George Formby in the 1930s to being the beating heart of the Northern Soul scene, and also the town which created 90s Britpop legends The Verve.
Now it will build on its legacy with a new summer gig series at the multi-million pound Robin Park, built in association with Wigan council.
Located next to The DW Stadium, Robin Park is just a 20 minute walk from Wigan town centre, and Wigan North Western train station.
Live at Robin Park 2024 gigs and tickets
Wednesday 17 July – James Arthur + special guests – Tickets on sale Friday 8 December at 9am here
Thursday 18 July – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds + special guests – Tickets on sale Friday 8 December at 9am here
Friday 19 July – The Lathums + special guests Jake Bugg and Brooke Combe – Tickets on sale Friday 8 December at 9am here
Saturday 20 July + Sunday 21 July – Richard Ashcroft + special guests – Tickets here
Featured image: Matt Crockett
The Killers to play THREE huge gigs in Manchester next summer
The Killers have announced three massive arena shows here in Manchester for next summer on their Rebel Diamonds Tour.
The Las Vegas indie rock legends have announced the tour to celebrate 20 years of hits together, and will release a brand new compilation album of the same name next week.
The Rebel Diamonds Tour will mark the first time The Killers have played arena shows in the UK since 2017, though they wowed huge crows with their summer show at Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground last summer.
The Killers will be at the Co-op Live arena for three nights in June 2024, with other shows announced in Dublin, London and Glasgow.
The group, consisting of Brandon Flowers (vocals), Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums), Dave Keuning (guitar), and Mark Stoermer (bass), are behind massive hits including Mr Brightside, When You Were Young, Read My Mind and Human.
They’ll bring together some of those huge hits from their back catalogue into the new Rebel Diamond album.
It will feature at least one song from each of the band’s seven studio albums, from their groundbreaking debut Hot Fuss to the band’s latest release Pressure Machine.
Brandon Flowers said of the record: “See it’s been said that what’s remembered lives, and we’ve racked up stadiums full of memories the past twenty years, enough to fill lifetimes. Twenty songs for twenty years – Rebel Diamonds.”
The Killers will perform at the Co-Op Live in Manchester on 18, 19 and 21 June 2024.
Tickets will go on sale at 9.30am on Friday 8 December through See Tickets.