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It’s that time of year again when everyone looks back at what was and what could have been. It’s no different for me and The Black Keys. Here’s a few observations about the band in 2008. And some crystal ball gazing about 2009.

2008

The Black Keys (almost) became part of a mainstream consciousness.From Letterman to Lollapalooza the band must have played more shows in 2008 than any other year. It seems Dan and Pat have been on the road constantly. Across the States, Europe, Australia (twice) and elsewhere.

They are certainly getting themselves out there but I for one fear burn out. Geez, they both have wives who I’m sure would love to see them more.

The new Attack & Release album came out to almost universal praise. It was a landmark in that it was so strong and diverse after the ‘OK but  more of the same’ nature of Magic Potion. It’s opened more ears than any other. All the DIY recording over the years seemed to be expressed so well in th is big studio sound album.

Attack and Release seems to be on so many peoples ‘Top Albums of 2008′ lists. Everyone also talks about the hip hop production connection of Danger Mouse on the album yet The Black  Keys have always loved hip hop and the Wu-Tang Clan specifically. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but their first album The Big Come Up remains the only album to feature samples.

Busy as they are the band has still found time to variously start their own label, found their own recording studio and help produce numerous up and coming bands we’ll no doubt hear alot more from in 2009.

The year was neatly wrapped and packaged by the new Crystal Ballroom Live DVD. It really showcased the breadth of sound, confidence and musical command of the band.

The band has always had a respect for grass roots poster art and publicity and we’ve covered this quite a bit this year. The new Black Keys official website leveraged off their album artwork and provided a strong identity.

As popular as they get Dan and Pat still have a real approachable quality to their personalities, wear Converse, and talk about fast food in more interviews than all other bands combined.

2009?

I’m still hopeful The RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan will produce the next album.

Who knows where Dan’s solo project will lead.  I can only think it will be positive for the band to take a break. But then again it seems when the creative juices are flowing you’ve got to bottle them as fast as possible before the mojo vanishes as fast as it could previously be pumped.

Prediction: Dan will shave his beard off. Just like Liam Finn did after my post about their hairy visage.

Hopefully someone will answer my question about who is The Black Keys Roadie?

Hopefully all these questions and more will be answered if I can get an interview with the band when they arrive in Australia in early 2009. Come what may I’ll still be jibbering on about them in 2009.

Have a safe and prosperous Festive Season.

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One Response to “2008: The Black Keys Year In Review”

  1. Jameses says:

    Just wanted to let you know that we saw Black Keys and Gomez play at the Arena in Brisbane on Monday 5th Jan. The beard is still there and despite it being a Monday, the venue was pretty well crammed with patrons and BK afficionados. At $74 a ticket it was good thing there were two great acts on the bill.

    I do think the billing was a little bit dichotomous though in that quite a number of people appeared to leave after he Gomez set and a few rowdy patrons heckled Gomez to depart to hasten the arrival of the BK.

    In sum though, they rocked. Dan rarely hit a false note and sounded sublime in his vocals. The guitar made the walls and floors rumble in content. My only criticism (and I am a folk listener for what it’s worth) is that the concert sounded a bit samey after the 6th song. They did slow it down for one song in the middle but apart from that I think they could use a tiny bit more variation in their approach. For a 2 piece though, that might be easier said than done.

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