Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro
Saturday, Nov. 14
‘I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it,” Dan Auerbach confessed early into his sold-out Saturday night show at Cat’s Cradle, just after hitting the crowd with the one-two punch of ‘Trouble Weighs A Ton”a spare guitar-and-vocal sing along aided only by the congenial harmonies of guitarist Dante Schwebeland the thick, swampy groove of ‘I Want Some More” that opens his solo debut. The Black Keys’ singer and guitarist, in town on the second round of his solo tour, was three days into a bout of the flu, though it would have been near impossible to tell without his admission. Between intermittent sips from a hot beverage, Auerbach and his five-piece backing unitSan Antonio’s Hacienda plus My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahanripped through the majority of Keep It Hid, while smartly eschewing selections from the catalog of his famous duo. Auerbach rarely unleashed the full roar of his signature guitar tone through a well-paced set that tended to smolder rather than blaze, though he managed to do both on ‘Whispered Words”, a soulful slow-burner that suddenly transformed into a psychedelic guitar jam during a double-time coda.
In the comfortable confines of the Fast Five, Auerbach was able to lean on Schwebel, bassist Jaime Villanueva and keyboardist Abraham Villanueva for support and texture, allowing him to play with restraint seldom seen while shouldering the entirety of the melodic work in The Black Keys. Sure, it was strange to hear Auerbach without Patrick Carney, his drummer and sole bandmate for nearly a decade. Even the beefy dual-drummer combo of Hallahan and Jaime Villanueva couldn’t match Carney’s intensity, but it was refreshing to hear the unburdened guitarist spread out from the Keys’ garage-blues routine into classic rock and R&B territory. When Auerbach put down his guitar little more than an hour into the set, he thanked the audience, seemingly relieved that he could ‘lay down and go die now.” The crowdperhaps not realizing the severity of Auerbach’s illness when he half-jokingly made that comment or perhaps appreciative of his determination to fight through it with minimal slowdownsresponded with rapturous applause, the kind that demands a true encore. Hallahan shot that notion down rather quickly, returning to the stage shortly after leaving to insist that Auerbach was indeed quite sick and wouldn’t be coming back. Despite the abbreviated performance, there could be little complaint from the audience, who no doubt witnessed an impressive display.
Embed pls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI5DMZI9mdw