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Mondays with Schobie: Black Keys on fire

Photo by John Peets

For take two of my Monday column, let's wedge together the following square pegs: Black Keys, Shawne Merriman, Trent Rezner, and Squeaky Wheel.

• I'm ready to announce my choice for finest Buffalo-area concert of 2011 (I know, you've been holding your breath): Black Keys at Artpark. I was a relatively moderate fan of the duo from Akron, Ohio before the show; the album Brothers certainly grabbed me, but it was the concert that really swept me up. I can confidently say their new album El Camino is killer—even Pitchfork liked it!—and the band performed two songs on Saturday Night Live this weekend, including the foot-stompin' first single, "Lonely Boy." Clearly, this is a band on fire. Shame that their recently announced tour with the Arctic Monkeys isn't visiting the Queen City, but note that a Toronto show is March 14.

• Nick Mendola has become a frequent Spree contributor, with recent articles on Patrick Kaleta and his Legos, Marcell Dareus, and the Gus Macker tourney. His Monday-morning-quarterback pieces for his website are a weekly treat, and one of the questions he poses this morning is worth pondering: "We knew Kyle Williams was a presence for this defense early, but who knew how crucial Shawne Merriman was to the team's success?" Mendola explains why, and it makes plenty of sense. Go figure.

• I spent a couple years as a board member for Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo's truly wonderful media resource center, and one of my favorite events while on the board was the annual Dys(fun)ctional Holiday Party, a laid-back good-time with screenings, gift basket auctions, and more. But you don't need to be on the board to head to Squeaky (712 Main) next Friday, December 16—it's open to all for just $7 for non-members or $5 for members.

• So this might be rather "inside," but as a freelance film critic, it's been interesting to watch how preview screening etiquette has evolved, from disallowed phones and increased security to embargoed reviews. The latter, in particular, is of interest this week, since Sony has finally started screening David Fincher's long-awaited adaptation of Stieg Larsson The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and New Yorker critic David Denby's review has caused a firestorm of blog-troversy. Why? Because Sony had imposed an embargo date of December 13. (Coming in my next column, on December 16: Schobie's best of 2012 list, which may or may not include Tattoo.) Critic Lou Lumenick breaks it down here, and NPR looks into the "imperfect system" here, but the most enjoyable response comes from Deadline's Nikke Finke, who rather succinctly comes down hard on Sony: "So what if David Denby broke Sony/Scott Rudin's Dragon Tattoo embargo? F*** it!" So what was Denby's response to the film? Mixed-to-positive. But something tells me if it was negative-to-terrible, Joe Moviegoer would not be troubled in the least. Here's an extended trailer that looks pretty fantastic, and Trent Reznor has uneveiled some bits from his score via Wired. The film opens on December 21. (Breaking news! The Playlist has obtained some wild emails between Denby and producer Scott Rudin.)  

• Last but not least, you've probably never heard Noel Gallagher's cover of Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody." So enjoy, everybody.


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