The Black Keys
Though half the length of Sauchiehall Street separates the venues, it is hard not consider the audience along the street at the Garage, no doubt being royally entertained by The Pipettes.
Their showbiz sense of performance is something the resolutely monochrome Black Keys would do well to study. There is an overwhelming seriousness and dourness about their show that makes it an unengaging spectacle.
This is the fare of those, predominantly male, who like their rock entrenched in the past and in its most overwrought form. Nevertheless, the duo cannot be faulted for the size of their sound and the sharpness of the playing. While this can make for the occasional thrilling moment on vinyl, over the course of an hour, with no stage presence or visual distractions, it becomes repetitive and unrelenting.
Dan Auerbach has a great rock voice in the tradition of Plant and Rodgers, but the material is rarely inspiring – drawing as it does on alternate decades of rock history (fifties’ rock and blues, seventies’ hard rock and metal, nineties’ grunge). ‘Your Touch’ is the best their current album, ‘Magic Potion’ has to offer, ‘Set Me Free’ the most anthemic pick from their back catalogue.
The encores of ‘Til i Get My Way’ and ‘Grown So Ugly’ offer some strobe lighting and a final burst of energy, but throughout they straddle a fine line between tribute and parody.
Lacking the charisma of their most obvious peers, the affection and appetite shown for The Black Keys is perhaps surprising. Their quest for authenticity may be laudable, but this is music to be admired rather than loved and a show to be endured rather than enjoyed. At the bus stop afterwards, The Pipettes’ fans seem somehow happier and more excited, probably the result of being properly entertained.