Written by Jim Bille
Dec 10, 2006 at 08:00 PM
ImageEvery generation or so something happens on the Akron, Ohio music scene. It started in the late 60’s with a band called 15-60-75 a.k.a. The Numbers Band that went on to gain regional success and is still going strong today.  DEVO came along in the mid 70’s with their alt-punk sound and around that same time Chrissie Hynde went on to form The Pretenders.  And don’t forget about the Rubber City Rebels.

The latest and perhaps the best music yet to come out of the ‘Rubber City’ is The Black Keys, a two-man wrecking machine powered solely by guitar and drums.

Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney have put together a raw no-nonsense blues-rock-boogie-head banging-bumpin’ and jumpin’ sound that has the music world sitting up and taking a serious listen to do-it yourself music. Their home brew tunes are produced and recorded in Patrick Carney’s basement in Akron. With 5 CD releases under their belt they have managed to find distribution through lesser-known independent record companies and establish, for the time being, a cult following. Judging from their performance Sunday night at Numbers in Houston, I guarantee that these certified “rubber heads” will be scaling the music industry rungs and cult status will soon turn into cash status for the former lawnmower men from northeastern Ohio.

At Sundays show, the duos stripped down and distorted sound would occasionally have a way-back machine effect on the listener (me), channeling up sounds reminiscent of early ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin or even Hendrix.  Auerbach’s guitar playing through his beat up Marshall amp is not about flash and speed.  Don’t expect to hear stringed fireworks or many extended solos. He plays in a raunchy finger picking rhythm with enough musical hooks to keep their sound on a straight-ahead course and the crowds heads bobbin’. Carney can’t sit still when he is equipped with the sticks of his trade. His spartan drum set took a severe punishment during their hour and a half set. Sounding like evolved hybrid grandkids of a cross between Link Ray and R.L. Burnside, The Black Keys hammered out tunes that included ‘Busted’, ‘Set you Free’, ‘Breaks’, ‘Just Got To Be’, and ‘Your Touch’.

This is a must see show for anyone who thinks they have a grasp on the future sound of blues music in America. The Black Keys have got it figured out for us now. Don’t wait too long to see these guys at a small venue. This type of performance in an intimate setting won’t last for long.  Believe it.