FULL CONCERT: https://youtu.be/0fQJRrmb5lk
It speaks to The Black Keys’ popularity and stature as one of America’s finest working rock bands that the initial school of thought around The Arcs was that it’s singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach’s “side project.” The Arcs’ debut album, Yours, Dreamily, may have begun as a solo excursion, but the group has turned into a soulful explosion. Those lucky enough to see the eight-piece band’s concert debut — recorded during a special First Listen Live performance at the Housing Works Bookstore Café on a humid September night in Manhattan — bore proof of The Arcs’ unique energy.
Sure, the fuse is lit by Auerbach in guitar-slinging mode, but the fire rages through all of his amazing bandmates. Richard Swift stakes his claim as a drummer here, moonlighting from his various gigs as The Shins’ musical polymath, producer of albums for the likes of Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and Nathaniel Rateliff, and a composer of his own futurist pop fantasias. There’s a trio of Brooklyn soul-session veterans: keyboardist and horn player Leon Michels, bassist Nick Movshon and drummer Homer “Funky-Foot” Steinweiss, who, between them, powered the lion’s share of great grooves for the likes of Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones. Then there’s Julie Justine Acosta, Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, three members of the all-female escort in Washington DC mariachi group Flor de Toloache — they don’t just supply the 20 Feet From Stardom harmonies and background-vocal roar, but also bring another layer of brass and strings when called upon to do so.
At Housing Works, a SoHo institution whose proceeds go to help the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS, the live Arcs experience rolled out like a gleaming, funky Southern-rock machine. Dreamily, the night’s experience is now yours, if you want it. — PIOTR ORLOV
Director: Mito Habe-Evans; Producer: Saidah Blount; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Lani Milton, Christopher Parks, A.J. Wilhelm; Audio Engineers: Neal Jensen, Josh Rogosin; Post Production Mix: Dan Auerbach, Richard Swift, Leon Michels; Special Thanks: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann