#MusicMonday Jack White Concert Review
(photos from www.jackwhiteiii.com)
Jack White is a brilliant, prolific, cunning, risk-taking artist that never fails to impress me. I've seen him perform live three times now; once with his band The Dead Weather, once solo with his all-female band, and this past Wednesday, solo with a new backing group made up of hand-picked musicians from across the music spectrum. Each experience has been special in its own way, and I fall a little bit more in love with his music every time.
If you're not familiar with Jack White, here are a few details about his career:
1. The White Stripes was his first band and their music thrust him into the spotlight of alternative music. He's recorded seven albums with Meg White, his ex-wife who he introduced as his sister.
2. He went on to form The Raconteurs later and put out two albums. Jack played guitar and shared vocal duty.
3. The Dead Weather was formed with vocalist Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertita, Jack Lawrence and Jack White shared vocals and played drums. They've put out three albums together.
4. Jack White has put out three solo albums as well as an acoustic album through the record company he has founded called Third Man Records.
5. During Jack's solo concerts, he does not use a setlist. His band follows his cues and he decides as he goes.
6. Jack White instituted a no cell phone policy during this most recent tour and used a company called Yondr to lock up everyone's phones upon entering the venues.
7. Jack White has been involved with projects to conserve American musical history such as the American Epic program through PBS.
8. Each music project has had a very specific aesthetic: White Stripes artwork was all red, black and white. Solo work is all blue, black and white. Third Man Records is all yellow, black and white.
Now, Jack White could be defined in much broader terms in regards to his career, but those are some of the things that have made me a fan. Going to this most recent show reminded me of just why I love live performances, especially one as unpredictable. There was no telling what was going to happen next, he played some random choices from his catalogue with some different versions, but honestly, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next, almost like taking in a performance art exhibit. Attention is paid to every detail from the fact that the technicians working backstage and in support of the band are all dressed in vests and slacks, usually with fedoras on to the placement of instruments that challenges him to be able to reach what he needs when he needs it in each song. He keeps himself on his toes, choosing not do anything easy it seems. He inspires me for much more than just his music, but his music is also hugely inspirational as I'm writing. No matter the vibe, I can turn on one of his many projects and find myself the groove I need to get into the flow.
This concert was additionally exciting because of his drummer Carla... OMG this woman was amazing and somehow seemed not to be following his lead, but keeping ahead of him despite the fact that he didn't have a clear plan. That, to me, was thrilling to watch. From our perspective, he'd have his back to us and seemed to be taunting her at times, and at others, their chemistry was freaking phenomenal. I highly recommend you check out video of their performances.
Jack White should totally be on your must-see, bucket-list agenda. I will definitely see him again if I get the chance. As for the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, this was the first time I've been there and it was okay. Not one of my favorites, but I'd go there again. Not having my cell phone was a minor inconvenience... I wasn't able to text friends where we were sitting (it was general admission so we couldn't plan ahead) and when I was in line for merch, I couldn't ask my son what he wanted. Other than that, I barely noticed. Also, the opener Olivia Jean was adorable. Dug her rockabilly/surf rock/80s new wave kind of vibe for sure. I definitely did some research after and will listen to her again. She was beautiful and I loved her aesthetic, not to mention she could play a mean guitar.