Sporting freshly cropped hair, and a full backing band, when Dan Auerbach first took the stage for his sold out performance at the Beachland Ballroom, it was almost too much too take. What was next? Krautrock? Blog House? Twee? No, it was more of those slick bluesy riffs, the kind of which transformed Auerbach and his partner in the Black Keys, Patrick Carney, from Rubbber City survivors into a national touring force.
With opening act Hacienda, serving as his accompaniment for night, Auerbach ripped through “I Want Some More,” “Street Walkin,” and “My Last Mistake” from his debut solo album, Keep it Hid, with the same sort of intensity which has punctuated his many sold out hometown shows with The Black Keys. Fascinatingly, there were times when the boys in Hacienda would switch up from bass, keys, rhythm guitar, percussion, and drums, to having two men on the kits just to replicate the type of thump Carney can produce on his own. Yet, when Auerbach and Hacienda blazed, they really f’n blazed, making one wonder, what if…what if The Black Keys took a full band approach to their back catalog?
Surpisingly, as an opening act, Hacienda lacked the conviction and drive which they displayed as part of Auerbach’s band. They share the same old soul, the type which reveres old time blues, boogie, garage rock, and soul music, but something was definitely missing in their set. Was it charisma? Was it chooglin’? Was it one top jam to get the crowd in motion? There was definitely something lacking, such was the consensus in the smoking section outside the Beachland.
Those Darlins, the first band on the bill, fared much better. When you have three female leads who are most pleasant on the eyes, songs about drinkin’, gettin’ DUI’s, more songs about drinkin’, and a crowd whose bro to not bro ratio had to hit ten to one, how could they not please? Even if you ignored the calls from the front row for phone numbers and marraige, the country fried, garage rock of Those Darlin’s, played by a band of spittin’, drinkin’, cursin’ gals, the type of which you wouldn’t want to take home to mama, still struck a high note with the early arrivers.