Backbeat: Black Keys Rock New York for T-Mobile Event
Backbeat: Black Keys Rock New York for T-Mobile Event

Black Keys
The brains behind the Big Fuel (pictured L-R): Ben Luntz (Group Director, Distribution), Distribution Managers David Chiatt and Davis Cox, Billboard reporter Jillian Mapes. (Photo: Katie Morse)

Black Keys
The Roots' ?uestlove followed the Black Keys with a DJ set at the T-Mobile VIP event. (Photo: Katie Morse)

The Black Keys rocked New York and Facebook with a VIP concert for T-Mobile, which celebrated the recent release of its Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC Amaze 4G devices at a private event Wednesday night at Manhattan's Espace. The concert was streamed via Livestream from T-Mobile's Facebook page, and featured a 50-minutes set heavy on tracks from Black Keys' 2010 album, "Brothers," including hits "Howlin' For You" and "Tighten Up." ?uestlove of the Roots immediately followed the Black Keys with a DJ set of old-school and new-school soul that went well past midnight.

The crowd was sprinkled with celebrities like "Gossip Girl" stars Chace Crawford and Ed Westwick, "Saturday Night Live" players Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis, "Scream 4" star Emma Roberts and the Kardashian crew. The event also offered showcases of T-Mobile's new devices, hosted by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power of Who What Wear, Nur Khan of Electric Room and Mazdack Rassi of Milk Gallery. A well-stocked open bar also made sure guests were loose enough to rock out to the band's tight jams.

The packed event, which kicked off with a red carpet, was aided by social media agency Big Fuel, whose client T-Mobile was hoping for -- and got -- a young and edgy reveal for the launch of their new phones. Targeted "social influencers" such as music and lifestyle bloggers were in full swing at the event - a core group often called upon by Big Fuel. Even the performers that night were a socially engaged bunch: ?uestlove and Black Keys drummer Pat Carney are what one might call prolific tweeters.

Chatter of the evening was largely centered around next week's CMJ Music Marathon and number of pimped-out showcases, and of course (considering this was a phone-company-sponsored event) the mass BlackBerry outage -- many people were relieved to see their e-mails slowly restored throughout the night. Other attendees expressed excitement about the new iPhone 4Gs, which was announced last week.

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On Twitter, T-Mobile was able to score a couple high-profile tweets from celebs like Khloe Kardashian, who tweeted, "Beautiful setup @tmobile launch party tonight. Excited to check out their new phones #4GFactoryLive." And Emma Roberts, who tweeted, "Awesome performance by @theblackkeys at the @tmobile!!! #4GFactory." Even ?uestlove got in on the action, retweeting several attendees' comments throughout the night. Slightly less famous friendly faces in the audience included Big Fuel's Ben Luntz, David Chaitt and Davis Cox; Jesse Kirshbaum, CEO and Founder of the NUE Agency; Baeble Music's Joe Puglisi; and Kibbe from Some Kind of Awesome.

As for the Black Keys match-up, Big Fuel's Ben Luntz noted the event's good timing: Just two days earlier, the Ohio-bred rock duo announced its new album, "El Camino," due Dec. 6. And while the group generally stayed away from new material during its set (we heard one unfamiliar song that may have been new), the event served as a sweep ramp-up for the new LP.

Black Keys
The Black Keys headlined the T-Mobile concert, organized by social media agency Big Fuel. (Photo: Andrew Hampp)

Black Keys
T-Mobile hosted the VIP concert event, kicking off the launch of its Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC Amaze 4G devices. (Photo: Katie Morse)

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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