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St. Vincent and The Black Keys Set Tampa Audience Aglow

The Black Keys put on a stellar performance at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night as part of the blues rock group’s Turn Blue World Tour. Before The Black Keys put the crowd into a state of exhilaration, up and coming indie-pop group St.Vincent preceded them. St.Vincent provided a vibrant opening act that pulled the crowd in with an energetic vibe. On top of the constant guitar shredding by Clark, St. Vincent never lost a step especially after showcasing songs from their latest self-titled album, which debuted this year. Featured tracks from the album like “Digital Witness,” “Rattlesnake” and “Prince Johnny” were performed and St.Vincent’s bright and outgoing personality shined on the stage and went well with the upbeat and energetic tone to her music.The crowd was silent during Clark’s performance, which indicated the close attention that fans were paying.


Photo by Doha Madani

Clark was not afraid to share the spotlight with bassist Toko Yasuda. In their track “Birth in reverse,” Yasuda and Clark stood next to each other jamming out on their guitars and moving all around the stage to get the fans pumped up.  While performing together, they would walk in Clark would move forward and Yasuda would stroll backwards, working in alternative unison. Overall, St. Vincent exceeded the fans predetermined expectation that the band was just there for filler time. Before St. Vincent came out onto the stage, a fan sarcastically shouted “Where’s the Black Keys?”

After Clark’s performance, the stage was finally set for the main event, The Black Keys. The nucleus of the group consisted of lead vocalist and guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. To nobody’s surprise, Auerbach took center stage on the microphone but Carney was placed on the left side of the stage to get his share of the spotlight. It was very convenient setup to have a core member be noticed despite the fact that he was a drummer. They were also accompanied by bassist Richard Swift and keyboardist John Wood who were playing towards the back of the stage.

It felt as if the crowd was rocking out right along the Black Keys in their own garage.The hit track “Your Touch” electrified the crowd, bringing them back to the days of Magic Potion where the track’s popularity was at its peak.

The set list catered to casual and not-so-casual fans of the band with mainstream songs such as “Tighten Up,” “Lonely Boy,” and “Fever,” while still showcasing less popular tracks such as “Same Old Thing”, “Strange Times,” and “Nova Baby.” Regardless of the popularity of the songs performed, fans delivered a persistent energy that was unleashed rather through cheering and headbanging out of sheer euphoria.


Photo by Doha Madani

Auerbach tossed guitar picks into the crowd while wrapping up the show with “Next Girl,”leaving the crowd ballistic. He urged the fans to “help us out” by singing out the lyrics as they played. The amount of fan interaction motivated the band to stay loud and involved.

As the Black Keys left the stage for a break before the encore, the entirety of Amalie Arena was aglow with phone screens and lighters flickering back and forth. Around 10 minutes later, Auerbach, Carney and the rest of the band came back out onto the stage as the fans became enamored with joy. As tracks “Weight of Love” and “Turn Blue” were being performed, the screens in the background swirled along to the beat with trippy the blue and red hues of the Turn Blue album cover.

The Black Keys concluded the show by playing another fan favorite track, “Little Black Submarines.” As the lights darkened again, a white light shined on Auerbach as he slowly began to play the opening verse. As the chorus proceeded, the crowd came alive and joyfully acknowledged Auerbach’s request to “Help us out” earlier.

Phil Novotny can be reached at

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