Late Night PerformancesNews

The Black Keys deliver uninspiring performance on Saturday Night Live

on May 11, 2014, 1:18am

The Black Keys made their third appearance on this week’s Saturday Night Live, serving as musical guests alongside host Charlize Theron. Though Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have proved their comedic chops time and time again, the duo kept it simple with a pair of performances in support of their new album, Turn Blue.

Unfortunately, their renditions of “Fever” and “Bullet in the Brain” didn’t translate across the television screen: known for their rollicking and high-energy sets, last night’s performance felt particularly uninspiring. It came off clean — too clean for a blues rock band — and Auerbach, in particular, just seemed to go through the motions. We’ll chalk this one up to SNL’s poor acoustics, but that excuse won’t fly once they hit the road and are tasked with following Annie Clark every night.

Turn Blue arrives May 13th via Nonesuch Records.


“Bullet in the Brain”:


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The truth can hurt sometimes.
September 5, 2014 at 1:42 am

god what an awful band.

August 28, 2014 at 10:28 pm

They played last night at the Moscone center in San Fran. Honestly it’s one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a long time. I was super bummed, because I like the Keys and their story. The drummer was way off timing and it looked like they didn’t care at all.

June 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

They are a terrible band without even the most basic musical skills. I’ve heard high school garage bands with more talent. Why people love them is a great mystery to me.

May 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I honestly attribute this to SNL: either the terrible acoustics or a pretty bad job by the soundman. Check out their performance on Colbert last night, it was much better.

May 12, 2014 at 1:18 am

CoS, for once you nailed it. Boring as hell.

May 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

That whole episode sucked a big dick all around. SNL has been terrible for a long time. It’s not consistent enough anymore. It’s not due to lack of talent either. I could write better material. The music acts are generally good. Their sound setup needs some help. The vocals always get drowned out. Come on SNL get your shit together by next season!! I didn’t think the black keys were all that bad. I am a musician myself and it’s not always gonna be perfect all the time. We are all human.

May 11, 2014 at 5:38 pm

I was just happy SNL had an act I didn’t feel an immediate burning need to fast forward through.

May 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

This article is full of shit.
Who cares if their performance was a little bit less than amazing? In their defense, the crowd was probably really unenthusiastic which reflects on how well the performance went. If the crowd is jumping and screaming along, the band is likely to play better with that type of motivation.

Anyways, what’s the deal with this article? There’s absolutely no purpose for the existence of this misleading headline. The performance wasn’t BAD, but even if you think it was, why convince readers that it was?

May 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

I feel like this was more of an off night for them rather than them phoning it in. I got the feeling that Dan was nervous or something when I watched it, judging by how he was singing in way too clean and soft of a fashion than he normally does. It also seemed like he messed up the guitar parts on “Bullet In the Brain” a few times. I don’t know what it was, but it just felt more like something was off for me more than them not caring how they sound, as they tend to give it their all when they perform live.
If you watch them perform these two songs for In Session for Zane Lowe, they absolutely kill it on “Bullet In The Brain”, and do a way better job with “Fever” than they did here, so I’m gonna chalk it up to them just having a bad night, as every band has those once in a while. Theirs just happened to be on one of the worst places to have one: live television.

May 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

I thought it was inspiring, especially because so many artists going on SNL as of late tend to transform the SNL stage to the point where it’s unrecognizable. They kept it simple and it worked for me. Plus, I was drooling over Auerbach’s green Custom Kraft guitar.
Now I can’t wait to see St. Vincent hit that stage. I wonder how she will transform the place..

May 11, 2014 at 11:13 am

It was obvious this was going to happen with this record. It’s not about the music anymore for the hipster journalists with these guys. Now all the alternative music sites will pick on them like they did with The Strokes. They’ll probably get a <6 harsh review on p4k. They won't get criticized for their songs and performances anymore, instead they will get biased reviews adjusted to the narrative about the band that the journos have. Which is this narrative? that they peaked at their last record and now are going downhill. Which, if you took some time to listen to the records, is clearly not true. But, again, shamely it's not about the music anymore.

Black Pees
May 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

These guys raked in nearly 80 million on touring on the last album cycle. They phoned in this record because they aren’t hungry for it. Most Artists give 110% on the way to “The Top” (whatever that is these days), and when they lose the fire. Simple but true.

May 11, 2014 at 7:59 am

Wrong link. Altho I still prefer tourrettes guy over the new keys as well

May 11, 2014 at 7:57 am

That was boring as fuck. Fever might be the worst song they’ve ever recorded. Why did these guys start writing so much shit music. They had so much talent in the early 00’s. Dan was so raw back in the day which drew a lot of comparison to Jack White. Now they just look bored on stage. I prefer this Black Keys performance over these 2 any day

Francesco Eclectic
May 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

That was actually quite the performance. Bullet in the brain is not one of my favorites on the new album but I actually enjoyed that performance

May 11, 2014 at 6:11 am

You can watch their performance of Fever, Bullet in the Brain and Turn Blue aired last week on the french TV show Canal+ “L’album de la semaine” (link above). The band, specially Dan Auerbach, was in great shape, and I’m glad I was there to cheer their performance up… The audience was clearly into it, and maybe that helped a bit too to get a really good set from the Black Keys

Seth Meister
May 11, 2014 at 1:59 am

Not exactly sure as to how this constitutes “uninspired”? Those were two great performances! And as I’ve been not going to their concerts due to being scared off by the short setlists, based on these two songs, now there’s no doubt I’ll grab a ticket the next time they’re around.

May 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

Haven’t seen it yet since I’m on the west coast, but I’ll take this with a grain of salt considering how much you guys praised the awful HAIM appearance on SNL.

Ross Bonaime
May 11, 2014 at 1:27 am

It’s actually their third appearance on the show.

Alex Young
May 11, 2014 at 1:34 am

Fixed. Thanks for heads up!


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