The Black Keys + Hip Hop = BlakRoc

‘Tis the year of side projects and my man, Dan Auerbach, is on fuego. Filter Magazine has just announced that The Black Keys and some of the biggest names in hip hop will release an album under the name BlakRoc on November 27.  The band has teamed up with rapper-producer Jim Jones to create an eclectic new rock-infused hip-hop project and will feature a star-studded roster of guest artists, including the RZA, Raekwon, Q-Tip, Mos Def, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

Right now anything Dan touches turns to gold.  I’m keeping my eye on this one.

The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney Has Band: Drummer

DRUMMERCOVER

Drummer “Feel Good Together”

Not to be outdone by Dan Auerbach, the other half of The Black Keys – drummer Patrick Carney – now has his own side project aptly named Drummer. Their debut album, Feel Good Together, is set for release September 29 on Carney’s label, Audio Eagle.

Carney, who plays bass for the group, joins up with four long time friends—all Ohio-based drummers—to bring the project to life. Drummer is rounded out by: Jamie Stillman of Teeth of the Hydra, formerly of Party of Helicopters (guitar),Jon Finley of Beaten Awake, also formerly of Party of Helicopters (vocals, guitar), Stephen Clements of Houseguest and Six Parts Seven (keys, vocals) and Greg Boyd of Ghostman and Sandman (drums). The band will embark on a fall tour in support of the new album.


I Don’t Like Oakland’s Fox Theater

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Animal Collective at The Fox Theater in Oakland

I do believe I just saw my last show at Oakland’s new Fox Theater last night at the Animal Collective show.  It was my second visit to the beautifully refurbished venue and, god dang it, I just don’t like the place as a music venue. It’s way too big, the sound is awful and I feel completely disconnected from the artists.  Mostly because I can’t see anything, and I’m really tall!

The space is one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever seen, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want to belittle the monumental renovation project that took place to bring this classy lady back to life.  It’s truly beautiful and likely one of the most well thought out venues in terms of comfort and amenities – easy bar access on all levels, ample restrooms and in floor A/C vents that pump out a refreshing rose water infused elixir that has to be one of the most ingenious inventions EVER!

My first time at The Fox was for The Black Keys a month ago where I had a terribly unfulfilling experience.  I was tempted to rant then but decided to give it one more shot just to make sure.  And last night’s Animal Collective show left me once again unsatisfied.   The biggest complaint on the venue is the sound – it’s awful, echoey and muffled it sounds like your listening to the music through the ears of an 80 year old.  And then there’s the size of the venue.  On both visits, I moved around looking for that sweet spot – trying various locations on the floor and even the VIP area – but never found contentment.  I just wanted to get closer, pull the artist too me and get lost in their performance. That never happened. Instead I found myself getting lost in the scenery, staring into the glowing eyes of Buddha, as opposed to the musicians on stage.

While there’s definitely a need for a venue like The Fox, and it will do well and prosper, you can count me out.  Call me a music snob who’s been spoiled by too many intimate shows, but I’ll gladly sacrifice the posh interior and rose water scented air of The Fox for the graffitied bathrooms, beer soaked floors and the l’eau de fart aroma of Bottom of the Hill any day.

My Own Personal Jesus

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Artist: Dan Auerbach
AlbumKeep It Hid
File Under: Vintage Blues Rock
Recommended if You Like:  The Black Keys, Heartless Bastards, The Raconteurs
Featured Tracks: “The Prowl”

If Clapton is God, then Dan Auerbach is Jesus Christ.  That’s what all the comments on my YouTube video say anyway, about a posting I made of a recent live performance of him covering The Animals “Inside Looking Out”. “Dan Auerbach is the Jesus Christ of all musicians….the man is THE KING……JESUS CHRIST, WHAT A VOICE!”   

And the comments just keep coming. I’ve been a longtime fan of The Black Keys so word of Dan’s new solo effort had me hot and bothered for months. But you never know how these solo gigs are going to go.  I had to see it, touch it, feel it to believe it.  Fortunately I had the chance to do so, right after his debut album (Keep It Hid) released, at Bimbos in San Francisco.  Without a doubt it was one of the best live shows of the year. One that has fueled my first, full-fledged musical obsession for 2009.  So much so that I have officially baptized myself to the Church of Dan.  

Is Jesus Christ going too far?  I don’t know, but it is Easter Sunday and he’s certainly a legend in the making. And quite frankly with the impressive body of work he’s generated recently, it’s hard to argue. In early 2008 he gave us the acclaimed album Attack & Release with The Black Keys, later that year they released a DVD Live at The Crystal Ballroom, then just months later his solo album Keep It Hid was unveiled – followed by an extensive tour that rolls right into another Black Keys tour.  Whew!  Call him whatever you want, but Dan is most definitely the man right now.

The Black Keys perform at the new Fox Theater in Oakland, Saturday April 18.

Dan Auerbach @ Bimbos

Rock and roll hoochie coo! Man, my musical stars were aligned last week. There’ve been so many good shows and so many more to come with SXSW merely days away, I think my head’s going to explode.  Dan Auerbach‘s show at San Francisco’s Bimbos last Friday was just another display of rock-n-roll awesomeness.  

Better known as half of The Black Keys, Auerbach’s solo endeavor is more of the same swampy, blues-tinged rock but, dare I say, even bigger and more dynamic. Whereas The Black Keys have that stripped down two-man band vibe, Dan has a 5 piece band supporting him (mostly comprised of musicians from the project he produced, Hacienda): two drummers, keyboardist/organist, rhythm guitar and bass player.  Wow!  I lost my socks somewhere at Bimbos.

If you’re going to SXSW and don’t have Dan Auerbach on your agenda, you’re a bona fide fool.  Pencil it in and make sure you pick up his new album, Keep it Hid.

Mar 18 2009 10:45P
SXSW – The Parish Austin, Texas
Mar 20 2009 8:00P
SXSW – Bill’s Place Austin, Texas
Mar 21 2009 1:30P
SXSW – The Mean Eyed Cat Austin, Texas

 

 

 

Listen to “I Want Some More”:

In Anticipation: Dan Auerbach – Keep it Hid

auerbach-keep-it-hid

Dan Auerbach, better known as one half of The Black Keys, is releasing his solo debut, Keep it Hid, on February 10 through Nonesuch Records and I can’t wait. I love his soulful, bluesy groove.  Sexy, sexy. Hot damn. Fellow Ohioan Jessica Lea Mayfield also makes an appearance on the album. He’ll be playing at San Francisco’s Bimbo’s 365 Club on March 13 with Hacienda.  Doesn’t get any better than that.  Who’s with me?

Listen to ‘I Want Some More’:

Listen to ‘Prowl‘:

New Bay Area Music Venue: The Fox Theater Oakland

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After closing its doors forty-three years ago, the Fox Theater in Oakland is scheduled to reopen in February 2009.  $75 mm was poured into the renovation project which features a multi-use, state-of-the-art theater with flexible capacity from 1,500 to 2,800. (About double the capacity of The Fillmore.) The roof, quite sturdy have been looked over by an orlando roofer. The multiple seating configurations include general admission, cabaret style seating, and reserved seating.

The theater itself will serve as the flagship live music venue for Another Planet Entertainment, well known for bringing outstanding live entertainment to the Greek Theatre, The Independent, Paramount Theatre, Oracle Arena and other popular Bay Area venues. Another Planet Entertainment also produces both the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival and Treasure Island Music Festival.

A line up of artists have already been booked, most notably The Black Keys on April 18.  A special ‘grand opening’ pre-sale for all confirmed acts will begin tomorrow morning at 10AM.  Go get those Black Key tickets while they last!

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