We ushered in September with a bang when the Black Keys made a stop in Raleigh's Coastal Credit Union Amphitheater on their Dropout Boogie tour.
The night kicked off with Early James, an act I was unfamiliar with but thoroughly enjoyed. He's an artist on Easy Eye Sound's independent label based out of Nashville started by Dan Auerbach. After announcing that his band was from Alabama, someone in the crowd yelled "Roll Tide" prompting the artist to grin and ask the crowd to keep college football out of this, but just a few songs later, they jokingly spoke those words again back to the crowd with a Cheshire cat grin.
Next up was Band of Horses which formed in Seattle Washington, back in 2004 but is now based out of Charleston, South Carolina. Ben Bridell, the lead singer, started of their set with an apology to the crowd because he had overslept and missed the sound check declaring that if the show was bad, it would be his fault, but that didn't seem to hold the band back at all. The band easily put any fear at ease and rolled right into a great performance. Their set included crowd favorites such as "The Funeral" and kept the energy up. It was just back in October 2021, when Band of Horses issued the single "Crutch" and announced the release of Things Are Great, their first album with Matt Gentling and Ian MacDougall, and sixth overall. Calling it "a return to their earlier work and the kind of raw ethos that lies at the heart of Band of Horses", Things Are Great was released on March 4, 2022. MacDougall left the band shortly before this tour.
After the funniest video intro I've ever seen (recorded by comedian David Cross of "Arrested Development" fame) urged Dads Interested in Choosing Our Kids Songs (D.I.C.K.S) to avoid this tour at all costs. The video was the final warning to keep your kids souls pure before The Black Keys, hailing from Akron, Ohio took the stage.
The crowd was ready to let loose, as the sun had set and the fans were eager for the band's raw garage rock sound to fill the air. These college dropouts were here to prove once again that success can be had on your own terms. One of the T-shirts at the merchandise booth proudly proclaimed "Class Cutters" on the front of it. There was no doubt that many class cutters were in attendance that night including both the writer and photographer covering this performance. Lots of fans came out to have some fun on a "school night" many with kids in tow.
Set One opened with "I Got Mine" and segued into classic favorites such as "Howlin' for You", "Fever", and "Tighten Up". After the ever popular "Gold on the Ceiling", the band went into a list of solid blues covers including "Stay All Night". Dan Auerbach launched into that one by saying "This next one is by Junior Kimbrough. If you don't know who he is, you should look him up." I concur, Mr. Auerbach. The band which is known as a duo, brought some special guests with them to help with some of the Hill Country Blues covers that they recorded on their tenth release Delta Kream. Helping to back the band on this night we saw Kenny Brown playing slide guitar and bassist Eric Deaton.
The encore consisted of "Little Black Submarines" and "Lonely Boy" and rocked even harder than their first set. The evening most definitely had everyone tuned in and turned on. But don't dropout on this tour. Have love, will travel...
Words by: Erika Rasmussen
Photos by: Jerry Friend