The Arcs at the Forum
A side project by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, The Arcs emerged onto the scene with their debut record Yours, Dreamily in early September of this year. They’re promoting the album with a European tour and we caught them at Kentish Town’s Forum for their only UK gig.
Their line-up includes members of their supporting act, Flor de Toloache, who add a revitalising touch to the music. Nonetheless opener Stay in My Corner is an odd choice, considering its slow tempo after the up-beat Mariachi band. Still, the crowd are pretty excited. Whilst the new tracks are received well, it’s clear from the swathes of T-shirts that most people are here because of the Black Keys. No bad thing, there’s nothing like eager fans to pump life into a gig, and boy does this one need it.
The sound is reminiscent of their roots, and the term “garage rock” really is fitting; it’s the kind of music you miss hearing from your teenage years. They play well and the audience all seem happy, but the overall impression as they run through their set is that the pacing could be better. Nature’s Child is wonderfully soulful and The Arc does bring up the speed a little, but they stay at a low tempo most of the night.
The front-man spends very little time communicating with his audience. Okay, this is definitely no tiny, packed-out underground venue, but it also isn’t the MEN or the O2 Arena – it’s small enough to warrant a more personal, connected approach. Some light banter would help to develop the crowd’s investment in the performance. Indeed, it’s Auerbach’s introduction of Chrissie Hynde, offering her vocals for a couple of songs, that is the highlight of the evening and, to the delight of the crowd, she bellows The Pretenders’ I Go to Sleep. Her contribution is welcome but it contrasts starkly with the rest of the show. It’s obvious that Hynde knows how to enthrall an audience and though her appearance is brief she fronts fantastically.
The band play a couple of last tracks, including the enjoyable Everything You Do (You Do for You before closing the night. An interesting and entertaining set, certainly, but one that never really gathered much pace.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about The Arcs and future events visit here.
Listen to Nature’s Child here: