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Runtime: 90 minutes.
Release Date: 03/11/24
 [Festival Run]

[Seen at SXSW 2024]

"Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney formed The Black Keys in Akron, Ohio. After a decade of relentless touring and navigating highs and lows, they found mainstream success with Brothers and El Camino."


Documentarian Jeff Dupree presents a behind the stage curtain look at a couple of guys from Akron, Ohio who defied expectations and grew from a dirt poor garage rock band to one of the biggest and most successful rock bands of the 21st century. The doc showcases the lack of necessity for a friendship, common interests or backgrounds to create music together admired by millions. It follows the journey of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney from total obscurity as they climb their way to the top and cement themselves as modern rock icons. 

The documentary does an excellent job of familiarizing its audience with the unique personalities of Dan and Patrick, their upbringings and interests, and also highlights that despite growing up in the same Ohio small town, they are very different people. The lone string that binds them together is a shared passion and dream of being part of a successful rock n’ roll band. 

I have been a fan of the Black Keys for over a decade and much of my life’s soundtrack has been taken up by their hits such as ‘Tighten Up,’ ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ and ‘Fever.’ These 3 examples being in the middle of a career spanning over 20 years and 12 albums. Their earlier music, which is covered lovingly in the documentary had a raw energy, underproduced and simple recordings that packed a bluesy rock punch that could not be ignored. The band created their first album the ‘Big Come Up’ in a basement using microphones they bought off of eBay and a 16-track digital recorder. The band slowly gained popularity and traction as they produced more albums with their unique raw energy, and began touring in a van, playing small cities across the country to keep the dream alive. They continued to tour and make music as they slowly grew in popularity and gained a following, earning them a coveted opening gig for Sleater-Kinney. 

Eventually they found themselves selling more records, selling out concert venues, which kept growing and growing until they found themselves headlining arenas. Despite all of this financial success for the band, the relationship between Dan and Pat offstage was fraught with conflict. Constant clashing of their visions within the 2-man band, as well as turmoil in their family lives threatened to breakup the band and put a stop to their journey to superstardom. 

This is a Film about the Black Keys highlights the thumping, catchy energy of the band’s live and recorded music, while also humanizing Dan and Pat as more than just a sound emitted from the radio. Pat’s callous humor and Dan’s more quiet, solitary personality serve as an effective juxtaposition of two very different personalities coming together to make music listened to by millions. If you enjoy the Black Keys music and would like to know more about their origins as a band and inspirations behind their music, this documentary serves as an engaging window into their lives and the music that arose from their humble beginnings.

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