POP music often surprises, and Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney's recent ascension to an arena party band, after seven albums, is one of them.

Yet as a live experience this performance was lacking.

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It wasn't entirely the twosome's fault. The venue is never ideal for atmosphere, and chunks of the set passed by with only those at the front showing any real enthusiasm, and indifference seemingly greeting the band's early, heavier work.

Tracks from last year's El Camino fared better, especially when armed with giant choruses, as in the case of the meaty Run Right Back and a rollicking Gold On The Ceiling that was dispensed with surprisingly early. There was also enjoyment when the backing band departed, and Auerbach and Carney rattled through a few older numbers in fierce fashion.

Yet while their playing was fine, there was too much familiarity throughout an extremely plodding second half. No matter how much Auerbach writhes about onstage, the likes of Sinister Kid and Money Maker are such retro rock relics it's a surprise the stage didn't turn monochrome and variety never developed.

A sprightly encore boasted the Led Zeppelin go pop vibe of Everlasting Light, but this set was frequently too flat and familiar.

HH