Tonight, the Black Keys are playing the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Did you know they were that big now? We kind of thought they'd be a Fox Theater band forever. Especially since there are so many damn bands with "Black" in their names. Speaking of which, we want to honor Black Keys' arena-playing prowess in the face of having a 'typical' band name by paying tribute to the best and worst of all those other bands with "Black" in their names. (We can't cover all of them, or we'd be here all day). Behold!
Black Eyed Peas
We're not even going to patronize you with a detailed explanation about why Black Eyed Peas are one of the worst things to ever happen to music -- you would have to be completely deaf to not already know why. Wait. Actually, make that deaf and blind, since merely looking at them is enough to deduce their heinousness. Who buys this crap? We genuinely cannot figure it out.
Black Label Society
We're sorry, okay? We know Zakk Wylde is A Dude. We know he's a nice guy. We also know he is a guitar wizard and that his appearance on "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" (which also featured a band with "black" in their name, incidentally) was eff'n awesome. But it is an inescapable fact that his music sounds like an incredibly predictable mash-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Stone Temple Pilots, and -- oh dear god -- Creed. And we need to hear that about as much as we need another Scott Stapp solo album.
Because some bands just want to spend their entire lives making arduous treks between the nation's county fairs.
Remember when this happened? Sure, sure: it's catchy -- we get it. But it also has an uncanny resemblance to Color Me Badd. Yeah. We went there. Sorry Dre.
Three words: Trying. Too. Hard.
Black Flag took Henry Rollins and transformed him from some kid working in an ice-cream parlor to a half-insane but thoroughly well-oiled machine. He documented the whole thing in one of the most fascinating music biographies ever written: "Get In The Van." By the end of the thing, he's torturing flies in the shed where he lives. You should read it if you haven't already. "Nervous Breakdown" has been covered by... fucking everybody, pretty much. We like that Rollins has since regained his sanity.
You thought Black Flag were good... Well, so did this lot. So they took all of Black Flag's rage, spite and nihilism and turned those songs into expressions of ultra-gayness. The concept is genius, the execution is stupidly entertaining, and we're of the opinion that someone should give them a residency here in SF, so we can see them perform every single goddamn week.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Fact: Godspeed You! Black Emperor is one of the most awe-inspiring band names ever created. They're from Canada and they're adept at dropping clouds of doom on their listeners so heavy and thick, it takes a week to find your way out again. We, of course, applaud this wholeheartedly. Misery! Oh, the sweet misery of it all!
Before Steve Albini went on to be every indie band on Earth's favorite
producer, he played guitar and sang in Big Black: an intensely dark punk band that used a drum machine before anyone else had
thought of such a thing. They also put out an album called Songs About Fucking that remains an underground classic. "Kerosene" is their best-known song -- probably because it's one of their greatest.