Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

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Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW


People Entertainment Movies Music

Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

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People Entertainment Movies Music

Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

People Entertainment Movies Music

Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

Published By: By Riki Altman-Yee   •   February 26, 2024

Music Takes a High Note at This Year's SXSW

Published By:
By Riki Altman-Yee By Riki Altman-Yee
February 26, 2024

People Entertainment Movies Music


With a new album on the way, a film making its debut and much more to reveal, The Black Keys will be sounding out just about everywhere at this year’s SXSW.

Patrick Carney (drums) and Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) are The Black Keys. PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON
Patrick Carney (drums) and Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) are The Black Keys. PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON

Black keys on a piano might represent a half-step, but massive leaps are what six-time Grammy winners The Black Keys are taking nowadays. The band’s twelfth studio album, Ohio Players, is set for release April 5, and the effervescent single “Beautiful People (Stay High)” is already racking up hundreds of thousands of views online. Yet the loudest buzz locally surrounds Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s participation in a trio of South By Southwest (SXSW) festivals and conferences scheduled for March 8 through 16.


Several songs on the upcoming album feature collaborations with the band’s friends and colleagues, including Noel Gallagher, Greg Kurstin, Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and Beck. PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON
Several songs on the upcoming album feature collaborations with the band’s friends and colleagues, including Noel Gallagher, Greg Kurstin, Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and Beck. OHIO PLAYERS ALBUM COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BLACK KEYS

In early January, just days before the band released the aforementioned single, SXSW disclosed its Film & TV Festival Lineup with This is a Film About The Black Keys tucked in the 24 Beats Per Second category. Making its world premiere at SXSW, this 90-minute movie follows Auerbach and Carney’s journey as bandmates, starting in 2001 with a basement jam session. Director Jeff Dupre, whose directing credits include the Grammy-nominated Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music and SXSW Jury Prize winner Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, takes moviegoers along for the trip. While fans likely know the band toured for 10 years before the hit records Brothers and El Camino launched them to stardom, they may not have been privy to the various challenges they faced along the way. Auerbach and Carney even took a hiatus for a few years before circling back in 2019 to release the single “Lo/Hi” (which, unironically, is a cautionary tale about how oppressive isolation can be). The Black Keys have not stopped making music—and winning awards—since.

If any questions about the band’s backstory remain, surely they will be addressed when Auerbach and Carney take their rightful place as 2024 Keynotes at SXSW. While they share the coveted honor with Academy Award-winning writers and directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All At Once), along with the CEO and chair of computing leader AMD Dr. Lisa T. Su, it is highly probable The Black Keys’ music industry insight will be of particular interest to the Austin-heavy crowd. “The impact of artists has made music the foundation of SXSW,” says Hugh Forrest, SXSW chief programming officer and co-president. “For this reason, we’re especially excited to welcome Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, one of the most compelling rock bands around, to the Keynote Speaker lineup for a discussion on their prolific career.”

When the band takes the stage for SXSW’s Official Showcase, its third SXSW event, the duo and its fan base will definitely have a full-circle moment harkening back to 2003, when Auerbach and Carney performed live for the first time at SXSW. It was at that moment Austin got a taste of The Black Keys’ omakase of garage rock, punk blues, indie rock, psychedelia and alternative sounds, and a feel for what two kids from Akron, Ohio, could conjure. As Auerbach recalls, it was during those pre-teen years that he first “got turned on to crazy ass, weird ass rock ‘n’ roll.” Hopefully, some version of that is what we can expect The Black Keys will bring to SXSW this year.

LOCAL LOVE

Musicians from around the globe are scheduled to perform at SXSW, but be sure to check out these top-notch Austin acts making their debut in 2024:

Blakchyl (rap), Cactus Lee (folk), Creekbed Carter Hogan (Americana), Daydream Twins (rock), Deer Fellow (pop), DJ Napalm, Dylan Gossett (country), Lauren Lakis (rock), Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers (Americana), Madam Radar (rock), Middle Sattre (folk), Midnight Navy (Latin), Natalie Price (Americana), Pendulum Hearts (country), Six Missing (electronic), Space Goonz (hip-hop), Taija Kerr (R&B), Texas String Assembly (Americana), The Alex Coke & Carl Michel Sextet (jazz), The Oxys (rock), West 22nd (rock), Zach Person (rock)


OHIO PLAYERS ALBUM COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BLACK KEYS
PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON

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