The Black Keys Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 6

The Black Keys Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 6
Photo: Matt Bobkin
These days it's no easy task to accurately rate a performance by the Black Keys, as listeners are divided into two camps. Do you enjoy the dexterous blues of their early years? Or is the maximalist FM rock of their recent Warner releases more your thing? Taking the stage Saturday evening, it was clear the thousands of fans in attendance fell primarily into the latter camp. Nevertheless, the Akron garage rock duo catered to both crowds.

Beginning with Brothers (and, let's not forget, NHL 11) standouts "Howlin' for You" and "Next Girl," the live four-piece pummelled the audience with tracks from their last two albums. Taking a break midway through their set for a three song-interlude as the original duo, the band played a flamboyant "Thickfreakness" to little response, following things up with Rubber Factory favourite "Girl is On My Mind" and "Your Touch."

But the band's set wasn't without its issues, mostly in relation to one-man rhythm section Patrick Carney, who's monstrous bass drum provided unwanted back splash to every hit and played far too behind the beat during the chorus of "Tighten Up." But the band continued on in fine form, delivering some of the best performances of the night by delving into the middle ground of their career with "Strange Times" and concert closer "I've Got Mine." As the house lights came on and the band left the stage without an encore, the PA system began blasting Led Zeppelin classic "Ramble On." They aren't quite there yet, but judging by the audience's reaction, they may be close.

To see more photos from Festival d'été, click to our gallery here.