on stage

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Who was here in 1969? asked Mick Jagger, referencing the Rolling Stones historic Hyde Park show, held just two days after original guitarist Brian Jones’ death, at which a crowd estimated at a quarter of a million people turned up to pay their respects. “Welcome back,” he said in response to those who stood with hands raised. “It’s nice to see you again.“

Back then, nobody had paid a penny to see the Stones; 44 years on, some tickets were changing prices for upwards of a thousand pounds. Inevitably, the times, they have a changed.

The bank manager long ago won the battle for the heart of the Stones – surveying the baffling number of hospitality packages and “tiers” of general admission at Hyde Park, one can’t help but feel sorry for the poor fan who just wanted a ticket for the gig. But all one’s scepticism disappears the minute the riff of Start Me Up explodes out of the speakers, an awful lot more sure-footed than it sounded on the TV from Glastonbury.

And while a sizeable section of today’s audience weren’t even born the last time Mick and co ambled through Midnight Rambler here, the fact that they’d turned out in their thousands to tread in their parents’ sandal-steps speaks volumes about the band’s enduring appeal. Things got off to a less than auspicious start. Keith Richards fluffed not one, but two of opener Start Me Up’s opening three chords – a riff one suspects, given the number of times he’s played it, would be harder for him to play wrong than right.

Fortunately they proved to be the only bum notes of a near-immaculate set that not just recreated the previous weekend’s Glastonbury crowd-pleasing histrionics, but arguably surpassed them. Richards looked more relaxed and far better dressed, trading licks and cigarette smoke with long-term sparring partner Ronnie Wood.

Drummer Charlie Watts was the epitome of insouciant cool, providing the rock-solid foundations from which the likes of It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It), Honky Tonk Women and an epic Paint It Black were majestically constructed.

The Stones may no longer be “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world” (is anyone?), but their muscle memory and catalogue mean they are still a fearsome force once they’re in full flow. Gimme Shelter has the unstoppable, lumbering force of a supertanker; Paint It Black, an eternal monument to the point in time when blues fans started dropping acid, still sounds like it was written by some sinister, alternate consciousness, then gifted to the band – the nihilism of the lyric may be cartoonish, but the attack of the music isn’t.

The presentation, too, is stunning. There are no fancy props on stage, but the band are enveloped on huge screens, which during Sympathy for the Devil portray the trees of Hyde Park in flames, while firepots belch orange flame and drape the front 30 or 40 yards of the crowd in smoke. It’s thrillingly effective, and only the delighted whoops of 65,000 or so prevent it feeling suitably demonic. And if Jagger’s call-outs to “everyone at the back” feel forced, given that thousands have paid a good bit extra for the privilege of standing nearer the front, then the explosive force of Midnight Rambler (with added Mick Taylor) or Jumpin’ Jack Flash forces one to swallow qualms. A beautiful You Can’t Always Get What You Want and the inevitable (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction finish the show, and it’s hard to believe, as Keith Richards grins through his fag smoke, that they won’t be back doing it all again soon.

1390479-the-black-keys-kroq-accoustic-617-409The Band is set to conquer 2014 with plans for a massive North American tour. The band, minus founding bassist, will embark on a 33-city tour from mid-January to March with support from Best Coast, Cults and Fidlar.

The band released a four-track called EP-1 on September 3rd, following bassist’s departure from the band earlier this year. “Everyone was just devastated,” The manager, told us. “But everybody believed in the songs. We decided to just carry on and see what happens.”

The group has been busy, playing Riot Fest last month and also stopping by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon with new touring bassist Kim Shattuck. The rockers are currently on a European tour, which kicked off this weekend.

The band has also shared a video for EP-1 track “Andro Queen. It’s a trippy, dimly-lit journey directed by Ondi Timoner. Read more…

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone called the song’s keyboards “a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps” and cited it as an example of Danger Mouse’s prowess as a producer and co-writer. Summarizing the song, Hermes wrote, “It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.” John Soeder of The Plain Dealer labeled it one of the album’s finest and said that it sounded like a hybrid of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2″.

Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly said that the song, “with its swarm-of-bees organs and acid-trip gospel harmonies, could be a lost Nuggets gem”. Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times, writing about the song’s retro stylings, said that it “sounds as if it’s existed forever”.

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone called the song’s keyboards “a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps” and cited it as an example of Danger Mouse’s prowess as a producer and co-writer. Summarizing the song, Hermes wrote, “It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.” John Soeder of The Plain Dealer labeled it one of the album’s finest and said that it sounded like a hybrid of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2″.

Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly said that the song, “with its swarm-of-bees organs and acid-trip gospel harmonies, could be a lost Nuggets gem”. Randall Roberts of the Los Angeles Times, writing about the song’s retro stylings, said that it “sounds as if it’s existed forever”.

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone called the song’s keyboards “a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps” and cited it as an example of Danger Mouse’s prowess as a producer and co-writer. Summarizing the song, Hermes wrote, “It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.” John Soeder of The Plain Dealer labeled it one of the album’s finest and said that it sounded like a hybrid of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” and Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2″.

the_black_keys-valley_viewOver 10 years and seven albums, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have turned their basement blues project into one of America’s mightiest bands. Weaned on Stax 45s and Wu-Tang loops, the Black Keys smeared the lines between blues, rock, R&B and soul, with Auerbach’s horny Howlin Wolf yowl bouncing off garage-y slashing and nasty body-rocking grooves.

Like that other guitar and drums duo from the Rust Belt, the Akron, Ohio, guys brought raw, riffed-out power back to pop’s lexicon. On 2010’s Brothers, they found a perfect balance between juke-joint formalism and modern bangzoom. The result was a few Grammys and so many TV ad placements, The Colbert Report did a sketch about it. El Camino is the Keys’ grandest pop gesture yet, augmenting dark-hearted fuzz blasts with sleekly sexy choruses and Seventies-glam flair. It’s an attempt at staying true to the spirit of that piece-of-shit minivan on the album cover – similar to their first touring vehicle – while reimagining it as a pimpmobile. This is the Black Keys’ third meeting – following 2008’s Attack & Release and one track on Brothers – with Danger Mouse, a.k.a. Brian Burton. Here, the band essentially becomes a trio, with Burton as co-producer/co-writer throughout. His brilliance, as the planet heard on Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, is blowing details of classic pop up to Jumbotron scale. Listen to the keyboard part that kicks in the door of El Camino’s “Gold on the Ceiling”: a serrated organ growl backed up with a SWAT team of hand claps. It’s Sixties bubblegum garage pop writ large, with T. Rex swagger and a guitar freakout that perfectly mirrors the lyrics, a paranoid rant that makes you shiver while you shimmy.

The single “Lonely Boy” works the same way, launched on a gnarly, looped guitar riff whose last note slides down like a turntable that someone keeps stopping. Then a sugar-crusted keyboard comes in, along with what sounds like a boy-girl chorus, changing the swampy chug into a seductive singalong.

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