The Black Keys might be bona fide arena rockers, but last night in Nashville the band kicked out the jams for a crowd of less than a hundred fans and friends, and a camera crew. The not-so-secret club show, held at Music City’s seedy Springwater Supper Club, was a video shoot for the El Camino cut “Little Black Submarines,” for which the band tapped lauded photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch to direct.
Early yesterday morning, the Tennessee-by-way-of-Akron duo tweeted that the first 40 fans to find the secret gig would get in. Naturally, hundreds more showed up, some waiting up to six hours to be immortalized on video, rocking out intimately with the band. About 50 fans were so lucky, while just as many loitered outside the tiny dive to drink tallboys and listen to the performance bleed through the walls.
In addition to multiple performances of “Little Black Submarines” –which, sounding not a little like Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane,” both opened and closed the show – the band treated the crowd to a supercharged, hour-long set of barnburners culled exclusively from 2008’s Attack & Release, its 2010 breakthrough record Brothers and its latest, El Camino. Set list selections included “Howlin’ for You,” “Next Girl,” “Nova Baby,” “Tighten Up,” “She’s Long Gone” and the riff-rich, party-rific recent singles “Lonely Boy” and “Gold on the Ceiling.”
Though the band hasn’t played a proper hometown show since relocating to Nashville in 2010, for some Music City attendees seeing singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach, drummer Patrick Carney and their two hired guns sweat it out at the rundown, roadhouse-like hole in the wall – where a bat or two was seen sneaking in through the chimney – was more than a neighborly consolation.
“I live down the street from Dan Auerbach and it was fuckin’ sweet to see him come on stage in, like, a really shitty club and do his thing with Patrick and the rest of the band,” fan Brent LaFever told Rolling Stone upon exiting the venue. “It was great.”