Preview: From mowing lawns to wowing crowds 

The Black Keys, Dr. Dog
The Vogue
Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., $17

Five years ago, Dan Auerbach had scheduled a session in Patrick Carney’s basement-recording studio in Akron, Ohio. His bandmates never showed up, so the boys recorded some songs and decided to form their own group, The Black Keys, in honor of a schizophrenic local artist who called the boys “black keys” — his phrase for people who weren’t quite right.

The demos Auerbach (guitar and vocals) and Carney (drums) recorded that day in 2001 landed them a deal with Alive Records for their debut album, The Big Come Up. But it wasn’t a case of overnight fame for The Black Keys. The musicians continued with their “real” jobs, mowing lawns for a local slumlord, but their dreams of being full-time musicians soon took over. They were fired for not edging a lawn correctly, and Auerbach and Carney have focused on their music ever since.

Their latest release, Magic Potion, is straight-up, pure rock ’n’ roll, just the way the duo intended. Auerbach’s sound is reminiscent of classic ’60s rock (Hendrix and Cream come to mind), and Carney’s take-no-prisoners approach to playing the drums gives their music a strong backbeat. “We could’ve recorded this album in a big studio,” he admits, “but it was so much easier for us to do it in our own studio.”

In November, The Black Keys had the No. 1 record on college radio. They have been out on the road in support of their new album for the past few months and slide through Indy’s Vogue this Saturday.

So how does the duo spend their time on the road? “We sleep, play our music and play video games,” Carney says. “So far, we haven’t driven into a snowstorm yet.”

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