As the Black Keys continue to tour in support of their current release El Camino, drummer Patrick Carney says they’re recording every show — in the hopes of putting out a new live album. The problem? They keep playing places like the Bojangles Coliseum, and (no kidding) the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre.
That’s the nature of touring in the Age of Corporate Naming Rights. Still, it doesn’t quite have the same street-cred-bolstering ring to it as Cheap Trick’s At Budokon, Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison, the Allman Brothers’ Live at the Fillmore or Otis Redding’s In Person at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go.
That leaves the Black Keys in a bit of a dilemma.
“You can’t put a live record out and say, ‘Live from the KFC Arena,’” Carney says. “Everything has these name rights. We have to wait ’til we get to a place that’s called something like Madison Square Garden.”
Actually, though, the ever-quotable Carney — who has called out Nickelback and insulted Spotify lately — actually warmed to the smartly ironic idea of Charlotte, North Carolina’s poultry-titled coliseum, the more he thought about it.
“I’m starting to come around to the idea of the Bojangles arena,” Carney tells Spinner. “I like the idea of all the processed chicken. That would be a really cool record cover.”
In particular, because “Bojangles” is nowhere near the worst corporate-tagged arena story Carney had to share.
“The worst naming-right venue is in Tampa, Fla. It’s called the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre,” Carney says. “It was the moistest looking rock poster. You make a poster for your show, and they have to put on 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, Tampa. It’s really fucked up. It’s a lawyer referral service. I had to look it up. ‘What the fuck is that shit?’”
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Black Keys. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
THE BLACK KEYS – EL CAMINO: This album didn’t so much try to follow up 2010′s Brothers, their most acclaimed release, as feel around on its outer edges. There was less blues, and more brawn — something that’s laid out perfectly on the lead single and opening-track “Lonely Boy.” Whereas Brothers – while deftly balancing both the modern rock and Delta styles that have long obsessed the Black Keys — came off like a chest-bumping celebration of summer, El Camino was this angry shove back against winter. Gassed up and ready to roll, this follow up — from the very first — was on a serious tear. Think Brothers, turned up to 11.
DR. JOHN – LOCKED DOWN (2012): The project, produced by the Black Keys Dan Auerback and featuring two of the group’s touring musicians, begins with a humid closeness — as night sounds surround the title track’s lean rhythms — and it never backs away. Auerbach matches Dr. John’s cranky hoodoo-man vocals, song by song, with his own brown-gravy groove — and, in a move that gives the album its signature sound, encouraged Dr. John to explore his familiar penchant for spooky funk at the organ. What you end up with is the best Dr. John album in ages, as swampy and oozy as the Night Tripper’s 1968 triumph Gris Gris but as gnarled and tough as 1998′s Anutha Zone.
THE BLACK KEYS – BROTHERS (2010): Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney return, in many ways, to their template — the blue-eyed soul, the lo-fi atmospherics — but that doesn’t mean these well-known acolytes of the urban mid-century blues cliche have stopped hybridizing black music into modern rock. They’ve just skipped forward a few decades into the 1970s — complete with blaxploitation grooves and ghostly new Curtis Mayfield-esque vocals from Auerbach. It sparks a complete return to form inside Brothers, even while advancing the Black Keys’ core sound.
THE BLACK KEYS – MAGIC POTION (2006): The Black Keys reach back into the blues’ swampy past to pull at the greasy, grimy roots and get something good and gritty. This is the kind of stuff you always hear modern guitarists talking about listening to, but you never hear a whole lot of proof in their own music that they actually listened to anything beyond some old Zeppelin records. The Black Keys actually deliver.