The Black Keys, a Trivia Night, and a Signed Vinyl Copy of The Big Come Up

This is a guest post by SM King.


I was running a rock trivia night with Helen Razer at Cherry Bar, down Melbourne’s AC/DC lane, in the early 00s. Each Tuesday it attracted a swag of rock geek regulars who collectively knew pretty much everything there is to know about 20th century music. On one Tuesday in 2003, it also attracted Dan and Patrick, team name: The Black Keys. They perched at my end of the bar, where the DJ console was. My task was to DJ between rounds and play the  straight man, Helen’s comic foil. The DJ sets were fairly short intermissions, and I liked to keep them thematic.

Twenty minutes of nothing but Arthur Lyman and Martin Denny , or all surf guitar,  or only records produced by Enoch Light. As chance would have it, on that particular night I’d packed a set of R ‘n B with records from labels like Negro Art and Flyright. It was right up their alley and we started talking music. Since we’d basically bonded over June Bateman’s version of “Possum Belly Overalls”, in my mind anyway, I asked if they might be keen to do an unannounced gig the following night at Cherry. They agreed. Word spread mighty fast and the next night Cherry Bar was packed with a couple of hundred people. It was the perfect venue for them, with its laneway grit and low ceilings. I stood less than two metres from Dan for the whole set, absolutely mesmerised. Was it the best gig I’ve ever been to? Yes. Their trivia skills, however, were appalling.

The signature on “The Big Come Up” reads “Patrick Carney” and the note “The Cherry Bar is the shit because of you!!”.

I bet he says that to all the girls.

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