The Raconteurs - Astoria, London

It's odd to go to see a headline act in such a venue as the Astoria only knowing 2 songs, but when you consider who was involved, it's no great surprise. The Raconteurs are Jack White's bit on the side. The White Stripes are still alive and kicking, but he just fancied being in a band for a bit. The other main man involved is his Detroit buddy Brendon Benson who has plenty of critical acclaim this side of the pond but certainly not the same level of popularity as Mr. White. The backing band consists of some guys from The Greenhornes (who I'll admit to knowing nothing about).

After the taster on their website, it was hard to gauge what kind of set they were going to play, the tracks were radio-friendly rock with a twist of White Stripes cool. They didn't really prepare you for everything they played tonight. There were plenty of hard rocking fuzzed up numbers, echoing late 60's and 70's American rock n roll. These tended to be fronted by Jack White who seemed to be enjoying himself, thrusting around on the stage, the White Stripes signature squealing guitar loud and true. These guitar solos captivated the audience, whatever possesses him in these moments, whatever spirit he channels it was mesmerizing, throwing him into orgasmic convulsions you just can't take your eyes off.

The Brendan Benson fronted songs were a little more disappointing, not really sounding that different to his solo stuff, these were mainly slower numbers and sounded a little more run of the mill country rock pieces with plenty of acoustic guitar - Jack White moving to the back of the stage, away from the light and taking a well earned breather. However, there was a couple of dueling vocals numbers, which really made this and added a kind of charm to proceedings. Both their voices complimenting each other, Jack using his more high pitched vocals, not as much wailing as there could be. The backing band certainly played second fiddle to the main two. A couple of songs mixed up the rock moments with some nice organ and synth parts which added a certain something and added to the very retro feel of the evening furthered by their choice of covers - Love’s A House Is Not A Motel, The Flamin' Groovies' Headin' For The Texas Border and It Ain't Easy from Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album.

It was a great evening and certainly a teaser for the album in May, I'm just curious to know whether Jack's energy, which really carried the show, can do so on record.

Category Gig Review

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