Live Review: The Black Keys @ Bunbury Festival, Cincinnati OH (6/5)

IMG_0218The Ohio sons returned home Friday night, and there was no doubt there would be a warm welcome.

The Black Keys were fortunate to have good weather for their night set. A tornado warning had rained out Tame Impala just before them. But the skies cleared for the Akron, Ohio natives to lay some blues down on Bunbury.

The band had high energy from the beginning playing a good mix of old and new songs. “Lonely Boy” and “Dead and Gone” set the mood for the night at the beginning with quick riffs and undeniable bass grooves. El Camino is one of my least favorite albums from the band, but I have to say they really were made for the festival and arena audiences. Their sound is so huge that it can only be done justice in front of thousands singing it right back.

And make no mistake – there were thousands easily. Yeatman’s Cove Stage was packed shoulder to shoulder with fans throughout the field and just as close-knit outside of the area directly facing the stage. Bunbury Festival may be outgrowing the area, which presents a tough dilemma. The location is perfect, set on the river and reminiscent of Forecastle Festival. It’s beautiful and adds character to the atmosphere. But even arriving 40 minutes prior to the show, it was well into the set before a good spot could be managed.

Nonetheless, The Black Keys kept on rocking. Surprisingly, I felt a little underwhelmed at times by the crowd. I expected the Ohio band to receive thunderous applause the whole time. And the audience was good – they clapped and danced, put their hands in the air. But it didn’t always feel as electric as I would have imagined.

This is no fault of The Black Keys. Dan Auerbach continued to call out the audience throughout asking them to “show me what you’ve got.” Great or not, the audience never brought down The Black Keys’ energy. Auerbach continued to rip through solos and bluesy riffs as always in front of Patrick Carney’s earthquake backbone drumming.

It was a great show and a wonderful get for the fourth year festival. There was no doubt so many people there that day were present for The Black Keys. The only things that could have made it better were a larger field and livelier audience. But the Akron boys did their part and that’s all you can really ask.

For a full gallery of The Black Key’s Bunbury performance, check the Live From The Internet Facebook page.

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