The Black Keys. Washington, DC. 7.26.10. Constitution Hall

On July 26, 2010, DC was rocked.

By the Black Keys.

Vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney graced us with their presence for almost if not 2 hours. It was a show to be seen and heard to believe. It always blows my mind that such loud glorious music can come out of two musicians. Carney blazed through each and every song giving it his all. Blood, sweat, and tears. So much sweat he decided to remove his specs after the first song. And he never missed a beat. He pounded on his drums as if his life depended on it and I could have spent all night watching him alone. The light show behind them, which in itself was something to be seen, displayed him as a savior almost, with a bright yellow beam behind his head the entire night. Anyone else would have been completely annoyed but such brightness but he just kept playing. His head was completely soaked by the third song. His energy was exhausting to watch. Carney is a sight to be seen and a beauty to be heard. His drums were loud and the enthusiasm with the crowd was exhilerrrating to see. Their music is seen as rough. And it is. But it is a thousand times better than any band that makes pop radio nowadays. I put BK up against anyone. Anyone. Even the older bands from the 70s. Trust me, these two guys can hold their own, take the reigns and bring it home.

Dan Auerbach, guitar mastermind as I like to refer to him as, didn’t “play the radio” as my mom says. Meaning, he didn’t come to mess around. He was there for business and we were there for service. He and Carney started the show off right with “Thick Freakness,” a song that makes you want to jump up and slap yourself silly. He charmed the audience with his strut, guitar in tow, shaking head,  and distorted sounds. The crowd ate it up like it was candy. And it might as well have been. Dan is the blues. Point blank. End of story. It was loud, crude, rude, and rewarding to hear at the same time. Song after song, distortion rang supreme. To say it was loud was truly an understatement. 24 hours after the show has ended, my ears still ring. I don’t know when I’ll ever get back to a show like that again. Ever. BK performed songs from their new album, Brothers, most importantly, the song “Howlin’ for You.” The riff is so hard I had to look to make sure that there weren’t any werewolves lurking about…just in case. And Dan knew he had us. He had us with the first chord all the way til the end. From  “Everlasting Light” to “10 Cent Pistol”  to “Your Touch” the boys came to play. Everlasting indeed. Patrick’s hands OWNED those drums, driving and thrusting about and Dan’s hands were so all over the fretboard and his face looked pained at times when making those chords sing. You didn’t know if he was battling the guitar or was the guitar trying to control HIM.

Later in the show the guys brought two more guys on stage. One to play the bass, one to play the organ to assist them on some songs. But still, as great as they sounded, the attention still lied on Dan and Patrick. The way they played together was just pure magic. Beautiful magic. All Dan had to do was look at Patrick. He went left Patrick went right. And vice versa. I loved that the two of them were genuinely humbled to play for us and they were truly surprised by the response from the crowd. It made me think that they thought they’ve come a long way from Akron, Ohio. Well deserved success. It was a great sight to see. 22 songs. Two hours. All killer. For the encore song, Til I Get My Way was fantastic. Check out the clip.

It was a great way to cool off on a hot night in DC. Thanks guys. Until next time..

This is The Remix.

I grew up in the 90s at a time when remixes were very very popular. They pretty much provided the artist a chance to expand their fan base and attain possibly new listeners. Remixes were usually a more danceable beat with the artist’s voice on top. Same song, different beat. I lived for a remix. In the 90s..particularly in r&b music, remixes were just damn good. A lot of times, the remixes were better than the album versions. So much so that record labels started to include remixes on the artist’s cds to appease those who were beatheads more so than music lyrical fanatics. I myself was one of those beat fanatics. I wanted to be a remixer when I got out of college. I still think there is an area for this type of music. As I’ve gotten older I think a lot of songs by artists I like could use a face lift in the form of the mix of re.

Nowadays, record labels just stick a rapper on a track, leave everything else untouched, and call it a remix. But that is so NOT a remix. When I think of rearranging a song..I think of rearranging a tempo, a chord progression, throw in an album scratch here and there..maybe break apart the vocals. Give it a complete makeover but never changing how a song is sung. I’d leave that in tact. I don’t understand why more labels don’t try this again. I mean in the 90s just about everyone had someone remix their song. And some bands even went so far as to release a whole remix album – a companion to the original album. Bell Biv DeVoe for example, put out a cd called “WBBD: Bootcity. The Remix Album.” And it was a classic. Perfect combo of dance and r&b and street. I still listen to it today. I mean, the tracks are on my ipod, but still..I listen to it more than their actual “Poison” cd. Jodeci had some killer remixes as well for “Baby I’m Waiting” “Come and Talk to Me” amongst others. Good stuff. Enough to get your head bopping or your fists hitting the desk in time with the beat, thinking you are a beat extraordinare.

Oh. Wait. That was me.

Take a listen to these will you? Follow me down memory lane. Before house remixes took over as the “official remixes” for artists..

Bell Biv Devoe: She’s Dope Remix

Jodeci: Come and Talk to Me Remix

Mary J. Blige feat. Lauryn Hill: I Just Wanna Be With You Remix

Groove Theory: Tell Me (R&B) Remix

God I wish R&B was this good again.. But these are just examples of breathing new life into songs. Remember Destiny’s Child? They wouldn’t be where they are today if Wyclef Jean hadn’t remixed “No No No.” And look how THEY turned out. I wish more producers would take a chance and really WORK at the remix instead of throwing Lil’ Wayne or T.I. in there. I mean..put some work into it. You might like what you get.