It speaks to The Black Keys' popularity and stature as one of America's finest working rock bands that early word surrounding The Arcs had it pegged as 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 recent New York 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 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 many 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 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 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.
"Stay In My Corner"
"Outta My Mind"
"Put A Flower In Your Pocket"
"Pistol Made Of Bones"
"Everything You Do (You Do For You)"
"Chains Of Love"
"Keep On Dreamin'"
Director: Mito Habe-Evans; Producer: Saidah Blount; Audio Engineers: Neal Jensen, Josh Rogosin; Post-Production Mix: Dan Auerbach, Richard Swift, Leon Michels; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Lani Milton, Christopher Parks, A.J. Wilhelm; Editors: Mito Habe-Evans, Lani Milton; Photo: Ebru Yildiz; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann; Special Thanks: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe