Live Review: The Black Keys @ The Anthem — 10/12/19

BlackKeys_AnthemThe Black Keys drummer Dan Auerbach performs to a sold-out audience at The Anthem, Oct. 12, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Grammy Award-winning rock duo The Black Keys performed to a sold-out audience at DC’s premier live music venue The Anthem recently. The Oct. 12 performance was part of the band’s Let’s Rock North American tour. When tickets for this concert went on sale, they sold out so fast, The Anthem, which holds in excess of 6,000 people, quickly added a second date on Oct. 16.

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Music Park: The Arcs @ 9:30 Club — 12/14/15

The ArcsDan Auerbach of The Arcs (Photo Credit: Monelle Chiti)

When a band features two drummers, a keyboardist, a bassist, a chorus line from an all female mariachi band, and a lead singer who shreds his guitar in a state of estatic bliss, you know you’re in for something more. Something alive. Something visceral.

Dan Auerbach’s project, The Arcs, because it is clearly no one else’s, is raucous and funky and unique in ways that are not just about music, but about life. Living to the fullest. Not giving a shit what anyone else thinks. Crying out “this is who I am, thank you coming, but I’ll still enjoy what I do, whether you do or not.”

That The Arcs exist, is a testament to Auerbach’s need to create, to express himself passionately, to find outlets where he can bare his soul, and experiment musically outside of The Black Keys.

And The Black Keys are great. I’ve seen them three times already (unfortunately, most recently at the first Firefly Music Festival), so I was intrigued to discover what The Arcs were all about. What they represented in comparison and in contrast.

The Arcs still have Auerbach’s garage rock and blues sensibility, with his unmistakable voice. It would not be a stretch to mistake The Arcs’ sound for The Black Keys.

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Don’t Miss: Mariachi Flor De Toloache (Opening for The Arcs) @ 9:30 Club, 12/14-12/15/15

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Flor de Toloache (Photo by Andrei Averbuch)

The Arcs are the new band helmed by Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist of The Black Keys. They are a bit unusual in several aspects, being a kind of large garage chamber pop band.

One of the unusual aspects of the band is that they are backed by members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache in concert. The all-female mariachi band from New York City provides vocals, horns, and strings to the bluesy ensemble.

The Arcs are touring in support of their debut album, and they are bringing Flor De Toloache along with them as the opening act with two nights at the 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Founded by Mireya Ramos, Mariachi Flor de Toloache themselves released a self-titled debut album in April. The band today includes up to 13 rotating members who play traditional mariachi instruments: violin, trumpet, guitarrón (bass), and vihuela (five-string guitar). Mireya and co-leader Shae Fiol provide vocals, and Shae also designs the band’s outfits.

Watch Mariachi Flor De Toloache play Blue Note’s Subrosa in New York City for their record release party on April 4, 2015:

Taking its name from a poisonous night flower used as a love potion in Central America in the past, Flor De Toloache infuse various musical genres into their mariachi mix, including salsa, bachata, cumbia, gypsy music, and Latin jazz as well as pop, hip-hop, and soul, according to a profile of the band in the Wall Street Journal published earlier this year.

The first show on Monday, Dec. 14, sold out, but tickets are still available online for a second show on Tuesday, Dec. 15!

Mariachi Flor De Toloache
(Opening for The Arcs)
9:30 Club
Monday, Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Doors @7pm
$40
All ages