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This article first appeared on Billboard.com.
The Black Keys didn’t mess around on Friday night (Jan. 31), in what was likely their final show at New York City’s legendary Roseland Ballroom, slated to close its doors in a couple months, with the Ohio-bred rockers quickly muscling their way through fan favorites and a few deep-ish cuts for the packed crowd.
“This room brings back some memories,” said frontman Dan Auerbach, who recalled opening for Sleater-Kinney at the gilded ballroom ten years ago. “Been a long time.”
The concert, for Citi cardholders, was part of the Citi Presents Evenings with Legends series of headline shows leading up to the Super Bowl on Sunday, when the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will square off. Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. was the night’s opener.
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Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney churned through a set gathered largely from the band’s previous two albums, 2010’s Brothers and 2011’s El Camino. Clad in a plain white-t and often armed with his trusty Guild Thunderbird, Auerbach’s bluesy voice was in fine form on raucous set-opener “Howlin’ for You” and standouts like “Dead and Gone,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “Ten Cent Pistol” and “Lonely Boy.” The thick, fuzzed-out tones from Auerbach’s guitar and the driving beat from a hunched-over Carney were met with shouts and head-bobs from the Roseland crowd, who were seeing a band that outgrew such intimate venues ages ago.
Not surprisingly, there were more than a few confused looks from fans when the band — who add a bassist and keyboardist for much of their shows — did venture beyond the last two popular releases. Auerbach and Carney treated OG’s to three songs off 2008’s Attack & Release (“Same Old Thing,” “Strange Times” and closer “I Got Mine”), but dug no deeper than that.
The group also resisted any temptation they may have had to try out some new material. According to the band’s website, the Citi-sponsored gig was only their second show since last summer. They get back on the road in mid-May to headline the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Ala. before flying across the Atlantic for summer festival dates in Europe. – MS
At JBL’s Hear The Truth fan-appreciation concert uptown at the Beacon Theater, Maroon 5 played one of the band’s first live gigs Friday night since Adam Levine was named People‘s Sexiest Man Alive in November. And it was a status the frontman and Voice coach clearly still hadn’t gotten used to.
“OK you’ve been holding that up for the last hour and it’s really creeping me out,” he said to a fan who waved her People proudly from the front row. “Now, I’ll sign this for you, but if I sign this it’s going to be a contract between me and you that you’ll never show me this again.”
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The candid fan moment was the result of a laid-back vibe Maroon 5 maintained throughout its 70-minute set, which felt like more of a victory lap celebrating a record year on the road in 2013 and its long-running deal with JBL (the band has been spokespeople for the audio company since 2011) than the more-produced set-up you might see on a typical tour date (tickets to the show were made available only by sweepstakes or to JBL and Harman employees and their clients.)
Though Levine maintained a steady energy throughout the set, he often opted to hit notes down a third or two from the falsetto highs that made him famous on songs like “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved” and even “Payphone.” – AH
Elsewhere in the Big Apple, The Goo Goo Dolls performed during VH1’s “Super Bowl Blitz: Six Nights + Six Concerts” at St. George Theatre in Staten Island; and Robin Thicke and Kendrick Lamar were on hand at ESPN’s pre-game bash at Lower Manhattan’s Pier 36/Basketball City.
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