Monday, May 28, 2012


photo credit: Maria Ives 

It’s no secret to No Expiration readers that I’m a huge Jack White fan:  a couple of years ago, I named him No Expiration’s Best Artist Of The 00’s. I’m a fan of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, I dug last year’s Rome project, and I enjoy a lot of the 45s he puts out on Third Man Records

So this week’s show at Roseland was pretty cool: for the first time, he performed songs spanning all three of his bands.  It’s a solo tour, but on this tour, he has two bands: an all-guy group called Los Buzzardos, and an all-female group called The Peacocks.  Each day, he uses one band.  Our night was Los Buzzardos. 

A colleague who was also at the show said that Jack White is becoming the kind of artist who makes his fans “work for it.” And my friend and radio host Larry Flick says that Jack is probably surrounded by people who are probably afraid to tell the guy “no.” Both of them are probably right.  He’s very self-indulgent and also very ambitious.

And when an artist is ambitious, you can either go with him (or her) for the ride or not.  I’m all aboard.  I dug Monday night’s concert at Roseland.  He opened with one of his best songs, The White Stripes’ “Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground.”  It turns out that it takes like five guys to replace the power of Meg White, but I felt that the song (and all of the renditions of White Stripes songs) really worked.  Later in the show they played “Ball & Biscuit” and I dug that also.

A lot of the show centered around Jack’s great solo debut, Blunderbuss. “Missing Pieces,” the opening track on the album followed “Dead Leaves.”  I think it’s one of the best songs on the album, and it was definitely rockin’ live.  “Sixteen Saltines,” “Hypocritical Kiss,” “Blunderbuss” and especially “Dead At 21” really worked for me as well. 

I loved that he played some of his one-offs, like Rome’s “Two Against One.” Also the song he did from last year’s The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams collection, “You Know That I Know.”

The songs by The Raconteurs and Dead Weather didn’t work as much for me, and I love both bands.  On “Steady As She Goes” I missed Brendan Benson’s vocals countering Jack’s (that said, I loved “Top Yourself”).  Ditto for “I Cut Like A Buffalo,” because as much as I like Jack, it’s hard not to miss Allison Mosshart’s vocals on that one.  So, even though The White Stripes are history, I hope Jack continues to work with his other bands. I think that they both have real chemistry and and identities.

The opening group was one of the most buzzed about – if not the most buzzed about  -- new band of the year, Alabama Shakes.  I’ve known about them for a while:  Pattersoon Hood name dropped them a lot last year, since they opened for The Drive-By Truckers.  They seem so far from what a “buzz band” usually is, they are very soulful and southern rock, and not very twee or fey or indie. Their singer, Brittany Howard has an incredible voice, and the group really rocks.  I don’t think they have the most distinct songs – but then again, maybe I just need to spend  more time with their album.  I think they have potential to be great, and I’m glad they’re getting the attention that they’re getting.

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