The Black Keys are the biggest band that's ever come out of Ohio. "Wait, but what about...?" Nope. Any other artist you can throw at this argument formed elsewhere or left before they got huge. The Black Keys are a product of Akron, which they called home until moving to Nashville in 2010, but by that time, they already had a massive following and five albums under their belts. The massive success of 2011's El Camino (and its omnipresent single "Lonely Boy") vaulted the duo into the realm of arena and festival headliners. So it's only fitting that they help kick off Bunbury 2015 on the banks of the Ohio River.
The Black Keys formed in 2001, and released their debut, The Big Come-Up, the following spring. The heavy touring in support of that album got the attention of legendary Mississippi blues label Fat Possum, who promptly signed the band. The proceeded to release some of their finest work, Thickfreakness and Rubber Factory, over the following two years, the latter actually recorded in an abandoned Akron rubber factory. Driven by Dan Auerbach’s greasy guitar lines and Patrick Carney’s furious drumming (he often had to play without his signature glasses, as they would fly off his face), these early records laid the groundwork for the massive success they’ve found over the last few years.
The top-billed Friday appearance finds the duo supporting last year’s Turn Blue, their eighth album and fourth collaboration with superproducer Danger Mouse. The band's original straight-ahead blues rock has evolved over the years, and this newest record frequently finds them closer to the indie rock of Broken Bells and the hazy stylings of My Morning Jacket than their early garage rumble. This is a band that didn’t have a bass player for years, but Turn Blue lead single “Fever” is propelled entirely on a thumping four-string groove. To round out the sound, the pair is joined on tour by Shins utility player Richard Swift as well as Learning Music’s John Clement Wood.
The Black Keys are a huge booking for Bunbury, a band that’s headlined Coachella and Lollapalooza, and will head to New York’s massive Governor’s Island extravaganza later in the weekend. Cincinnati has long been an important stop on the duo’s touring rounds; they kicked off their first-ever arena tour at U.S. Bank Arena in 2012, during which Auerbach mentioned fond memories of playing the old Southgate House in Newport--”the upstairs room.” So Bunbury stands as another notch on The Black Keys’ belt. They’ve survived just about everything that life and the music industry could throw at them, and they came out on top.
The Black Keys perform at 9:45 on Friday, June 5th on the Yeatman’s Cove Stage (make your own Bunbury schedule here)
Enter to win a pair of 3 day passes to Bunbury Music Festival HERE!