Concert preview: The Arcs press onward after playing Paris the same night as the Le Bataclan attack
On the same mid-November evening terrorists laid siege to the Paris music venue Le Bataclan during a concert by Eagles of Death Metal, killing 89, the Arcs were performing at Le Trianon, a Paris theater less than three miles away.
The next day, in an article posted online atRolling Stone, Arcs singer Dan Auerbach recounted the experience of hunkering down backstage and listening for gun shots as helicopters circled overhead and police cars screamed past, sirens blaring. "I've woken up feeling very out of sorts," he said. "What do you call it, survivor's remorse? Why the hell did it happen there and not where we were playing?"
Reached at home in Nashville in late November, Auerbach, who joins his Arcs bandmates for a concert at LC Pavilion on Friday, Dec. 4, was still coming to terms with the overseas experience.
"I'm still feeling a bit shell-shocked [and] a little bit on edge," said Auerbach, an Akron native best known for his work in Grammy-winning rock duo the Black Keys. "Moments of tragedy or loss, they can be really redefining moments for people. It's a reality check. You take a step back and take a look at yourself. Are you happy with what you're doing? Is this all worth it? And it made me feel good about the decisions I've made in my life so far and what I've been able to accomplish."
Despite the difficult circumstances, the Arcs never considered cutting the tour short, finishing off the European trek with a concert in Milan, Italy, just three days after the attacks. The desire to press onward was fueled in part by a need to maintain a sense of normalcy - "I mean, is the world supposed to stop now? Everybody inside! Buh-bye world," Auerbach said - and a desire to continue exploring the onstage chemistry that has flowered between the players in more recent times.
"We're just starting to fire on all cylinders," said Auerbach, who alternately described the songs populating the Arcs debut LPYours, Dreamily as "a representation of all of our record collections" and an attempt to "make music that mimics the way Dr. John walks."
"We're able now to start improvising more, and we're playing new songs every night. We're playing weird covers and unreleased Arcs songs," he said. "At any given moment the music can go in any direction and everyone just follows right along. It's been really fun."
The singer ascribed this chemistry to the bandmates' long history - the five musicians have personal and professional relationships that predate the Arcs' late 2014 formation by years - and a shared desire to serve the song above all else.
"We all complement one another and bring certain things out in each other. It feels special, in a real way," Auerbach said. "We certainly didn't do this thing to make a bunch of money. Our first release was two slow dance songs we put out on the same day as the Floyd Mayweather [vs.] Manny Pacquiao fight. I'm not like Puffy, trying to start my empire."
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4
405 Neil Ave., Arena District
ALSO PLAYING: Mariachi Flor de Toloache