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Black Keys hit Iowa City

BY ERIC SUNDERMANN | APRIL 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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One thing’s certain about the blues — it’s got emotion. Lots of emotion.

From Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell to Muddy Waters and B.B. King to Robert Cray, the genre, in its many different forms, has always formed a megaphone for the soul.

Today, Iowa City gets a visit from a group considered to be one of the leaders in today’s blues movement. The Black Keys will take the stage in the IMU Main Lounge at 8 p.m., with Mondo Drag.

The event is sponsored by KRUI Radio and SCOPE. Admission is $26 for students, $30 for the general public.

The two-member group, featuring Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, burst onto the music scene in 2002. The band has released eight albums, including its most recent, Blakroc, a hip-hop/rock collaboration featuring artists such as Mos Def and Raekwon. The duo will release a new record, Brothers, on May 18.

SCOPE director of operations TC Lockhart, who calls himself a huge fan, said SCOPE has wanted to bring in the Black Keys for the last few years.

With the support of KRUI, Lockhart said, the “stars aligned,” and the concert was scheduled. And Iowa City even happens to be the first stop on the group’s tour.

“The Black Keys has Midwestern roots, so we thought they would play well to a Midwest crowd,” he said. “We live in a community that really loves music, and we’ve found a lot of support. We feel like, if you are a fan of music, you know who the Black Keys is.”

The duo formed in Akron, Ohio, and it is often referred to differently in today’s music scene.

Lockhart said the band reminds him of classic rock — simple and direct.

But beyond the Iowa City community, the Black Keys is drawing from other parts of the state. Clark College senior Bjorn Johann Bjornstad plans on traveling to the show. He says the Black Keys “changed his life,” and he is excited to see the group in concert for the first time.

“It opened up a whole new world of music to me,” he said. “After I found the Black Keys, I discovered all sorts of blues.”

Bjornstad said he started playing guitar because of the Black Keys’ music. He admires the two musicians not only because of their sound, but because of their attitude and approach.

Up until the group members’ seventh album, Attack and Release, Auerbach and Carney self-produced all of their work.

“I love the raw sound, and its simple, broken-down lyrics,” Bjornstad said. “There’s no question in what they’re trying to get across. The way that they go about producing their music and getting it to fans is something I find really refreshing.”

Lockhart agrees, describing the band’s music as “consistent and solid.” He expects the UI and Iowa City to respond well.

“[The band doesn’t] pull any gimmicks,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this show sells out.”



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