The Raconteurs w/ The Black Lips - Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 9:30 Club, $50+
This post is so overdue; it’s almost not worth writing. This will be one of those posts that we throw up for posterity, not as news (as it is far from new). This is supposed to be sacklunch’s review, too, but he’s never going to write it as he’s busy with plans for the upcoming Turkey Balls Falls weekend, so I’m just gonna squeeze one out. Enjoy.
When I saw that the Raconteurs were scheduled to play at the 9:30 Club in May, I was quick to mark my calendar and eager to hop online and get myself some tickets. It was a bit of a pain to get them, as the tickets.com site was all kinds of jammed up that day, and I had to buy my two tickets one at a time (meaning, I had to go through the whole ordering process twice). It was a big pain in the ass, but I was happy to have scored myself a way into the 930 to check out Jack White and his compadres.
Not to sound like one of those annoying people who love to tell you that they saw [insert hot new artist dujour] when they were playing in the high school marching band etc, I was lucky enough to see the White Stripes play at the old Black Cat with Stuttson and Duh Cut in 2000 (?)… jeez that was a long time ago… Anyhow, of course, they rocked that show and the bar was set rather high in my mind. In the subsequent years since, I think I’ve been to 3 more White Stripes shows, and I didn’t really think any of them were all that great. I usually complain that Meg White gets lost in the songs, and Jack White spends too much time trying to get her to lay down the beat that he needs to continue on. I also have been known to drone on and on about how much better Jack White would be if he just had a full blown band supporting him, so he could rock out properly. Enter Brendan Benson, and the Greenhornes’ Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, and the Raconteurs seem to be the solution I was looking for.
Now, I should mention that Jimbromski failed to get tickets for this concert, and sacklunch managed to snag another ticket to set us all up with entry to the sold out show. But Jimbromski balked at the ticket price (something about sending his son to college someday) and refused to go. Dumbass. So sacklunch went out and found a taker for the ticket, and it was just the two of us for this highly anticipated show. We went to night #2 of the 2 night schedule since it was Mr. & Mrs. Sacklunch’s wedding anniversary on the first night. Aw. How touching.
Not only were we going to see the Raconteurs, but opening was The Black Lips, whom we’ve seen, I dunno, something like 7 times. [Note to RC: We should get an intern to run stats and handle the advanced ticket purchases and perform other odd jobs for us.] Seeing The Black Lips on a larger stage was also highly anticipated, and the evening was poised to be an instant-classic.
We arrived in plenty of time to see The Black Lips aggravate a large number of people, particularly the meatheads and their girlfriends behind me. This was not the audience that The Black Lips was likely accustomed to seeing before they started this tour. I thought The Black Lips were good, but they suffered from serious technical difficulties, right to the bitter end as Cole Alexander struggled with his ax, unplugging and exchanging cords to his guitar during their last song, without success. The bass was also incredibly loud, even for them, and it made it less than a stellar performance.
Given Jimbromski’s refusal to join us for this show (the nerve), sacklunch and I decided we’d tell him it was the best concert of the year regardless of the truth. And that’s what we did. Until now. In my opinion, this show was a major disappointment. The Raconteurs started off strong, but much like every other Jack White performance except the 1st, there were major breakdowns throughout the show. Drummer Patrick Keeler seemed to fumble his way through several songs, and there were times when the other members just circled their way around and around and around waiting for the backbeat to return. Painful. I’m sure there were plenty of people who thought this show was awesome, or would argue with me, but I know what I saw and heard, and I thought this show was a disaster in its middle. The beginning and end were good bookends, but the middle was just not good. I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t Jack White that’s to blame. I blamed Meg White in the past, and now this. Maybe it’s not the drummers’ fault. But I still think it is.
So go ahead, Jimbromksi, you can say you were right and that it wasn’t worth the $. It seemed like a good risk to take at the time. I will be more careful about any future Jack White live performances moving forward. I didn’t make it through the entire NPR podcast of the Tuesday-night show, so maybe that one was good. But the Weds night show didn’t cut it.
As an aside, I thought Jack White looked a lot like Rocky Balboa (and also like Al Gore - not pictured).
Jack White with his pasty white face and dark suit – standing next to a very skinny Brendan Benson dressed in tattered jeans and boots - the two looked like they'd been hired to put Bo Diddley in the ground.