So last night (April 7) was The Raconteurs’ first live American show open to the public. I didn’t know where I stood in terms of the excitement level before going it…although after eating that hamburger from the pizza place on 14th Street I did think there was the chance of me throwing up over myself, but luckily that didn’t happen.
But back to the excitement level–yeah kinda weird because here is this band I haven’t seen live yet, but I’m excited because I love the White Stripes, but…this band isn’t the White Stripes, they are The Raconteurs, which is a totally different ball of wax. So excited, but wary, I would say. After all, how am I supposed to know how well the band performs live without actually having seen them?
Another thing that had me on edge was something that I saw online before I went to the show. I read this post that said the following:
Tonight, I actually had the chance to see The Raconteurs at Irving Plaza. Yesterday, I was offered up a pair of tickets at face value but I turned them down. Yes, you heard me.
Since Jack White accepted money from Coca-cola in exchange for money, I feel that monetarily I cannot support Jack White. If I was on the list for the show, it would have been a different story as I would have only been an observer instead of a full out participant.
For space-saving purposes I’ve moved my debate of the above post to its new location after the jump.
BACK TO THE SHOW REVIEW
When the doors opened, the guards said no cameras allowed and that they would have to be coat checked. Oh well…twas sad because they had some great lighting at the show.
The friends I was with settled right up front by the barricades of the stage, and as I went over to the merchandise booth to over 20 bucks for a limited edition Raconteurs poster (I have no problem monetarily supporting a band that has a member who wrote a jingle for Coca-Cola–btw I also wear clothing from the GAP, I eat babies, and I work for Halliburton), someone bought me a rum and coke for good humor. With each swill I reveled in the controversy. (I think Chris Martin just banned me from all Coldplay shows for writing that.)
Around 9pm the lights dimmed and The Muldoons took the stage. Lead guitarist and composer Hunter is the ripe old age of eleven and singer/lyricist Shane is eight years old. They were both decked out in black button-down shirts (Hunter in short sleeves, Shane in long sleeves) and jeans. Hunter added some flare to his look by wearing white snakeskin-style boots and Shane donned a striped tie. Dad Brian Muldoon sat on drums and wore a red and black striped sweater and black beret.
They blew through what seemed to be a dozen 2-3 minute songs, none of which I caught the words to. Shane was an impressive front man, taking cues from Ann Arbor legend Iggy Pop in his wild stage mannerisms. Lots of wild jumping, lots of microphone stand grabbing, and lots of dropping to his knees, raising his guitar in the air and just letting loose. His little round cherubic face scrunched up has he shouted lyrics like “yeah yeah! always red and bllaaaaaaaccck!”.
His guitar skills seemed to be limited to minimal finger work and running his guitar pick up and down strings while relying heavily on the distortion pedal, but he’s eight years old, so I can’t find any fault with that because that sure is hell of a lot better than I could do.
Hunter was more restrained, content with the occasional move away from his mic stand, and a flamboyant guitar strum here and there. Dad Brian kept a careful eye on his two young sons as they wailed out there punk inspired rock ‘n’ roll.
During one song Shane made the ultimate rock star move of the night by ripping off his clip-on tie and throwing it to the floor. CLIP-ON TIE. How adorable is that?
It will be very interesting to see how this band progresses musically and lyrically as the kids get older. Let’s hope they still keep making music and don’t pull a Jordy on us.
After the show I got a chance to snap a photo of the family band. Shane ( age 8 ) and Hunter (age 11) just love their rock ‘n’ roll Doritos. Ad campaign, anyone?
Around 10 o’clock The Raconteurs came onto the stage which was set up with a light chocolate brown Raconteurs’ “R” logo backdrop covered by a sheer shimery overlay. Multi-tiered lanterns hung on either side of the stage. The band came out one by one, Dean Fertita on keyboards, then Patrick Keeler came on first and sat down at his drums, then Little Jack on bass, then Brendan Benson, then Jack White.
Unlike Jack White’s other band, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs have no dress code, each member sported his very own look. Dean wore a black (leather?) jacket, Patrick chose to sport a button down plaid shirt with a black vest and jeans, Little Jack looked like Crispin Glover’s lil’ bro in the dark-rimmed glasses, black parted-down-the-middle hair, jacket, plaid shirt, and pants, Brendan wore a mismatched flower print shirt with a v-neck sweater vest and jeans, Jack wore a black tshirt and red and tan plaid pants with a tan suede jacket with embroidered embelishments by the upper chest/shoulder area. His hair looked like a crazy mess, cut long in the front, shorter in the back, and tossed around in a wild, chaotic manner (below, photo by Martin Glenn).
They started out with one of my favorite songs off the album, called “Level”. I really think this song works well live, it sounds grittier and more full-bodied. Right from the start, the vibe was quite different than that of a White Stripes show. I felt it was energetic, but more staid, perhaps because the album isn’t out yet so not everyone knew the songs. But this band has a completely different dynamic–you’ve got four (five including Dean on keys) established musicians coming from all different backgrounds melding together to form one unit. No one is the clear “leader” of the band–therefore the concentration of the audience is spread out in different directions.
The camaraderie between band members was blatant, especially between Brendan Benson and Jack White as they kept looking over at one another and grinning. During the “Yellow Sun” duet parts they glanced over at each other and eventually Jack came over to Brendan’s microphone stand and they locked eyes and nodded heads in time as they sang (below, photo by Martin Glenn).
But out of all the guys in the band Jack White was definitely the most adventurous in terms of using the whole of the stage to his advantage. Like a child who couldn’t keep still, he moved around the stage in every which way: bumping into Little Jack as he played guitar solos, turning his back to the audience and playing to Patrick, throwing down his malfunctioning guitar and crossing the stage to bang out his solo on Dean’s keyboard for “Blue Veins”, and the aforementioned mic sharing with Brendan.
In fact, you could tell he was working so hard that he had started to bleed duing “It Ain’t Easy” as finger-wide red lines of blood could be seen on the white parts of the guitar body. Shane Muldoon could be seen in the stage wings the entire set, sitting on a set of steps, wearing a black and white Raconteurs shirt and sipping Coca-Cola (really he was) as he watched the elder rockmen burned through their 15-song set.
One of my favorite songs of the set (besides “Level”) was “Broken Boy Soldiers”–its clangy cymbals, twangy guitar riffs and a hypnotic galloping beat in combination with Jack’s piercing, electro-shock voice made for a captivating performance. Toward the end of the song every band seemed to go into a trance, intensely concentrating on their piece of the song.
When the band came back for their encore, Patrick picked Shane up and pulled him onstage, setting him down on the ground and letting him run back to the wings while Brendan announced that The Muldoons were the cutest rock band ever.
Jack ended the show by thanking everyone for coming to see “The Raconteurs, from Nashville, Tennessee.” (Photo below by Martin Glenn).
All in all I enjoyed the show the music was solid and it was exciting to see how the band interacted with each other. As I mentioned before, the energy during this show was much different than that of a White Stripes show–and I thought that was a good thing.
This show more than most WS shows I’ve been to had a more “community” feel, probably because when Jack and Meg are on the stage, it’s all about them generating a vibe between the two of them and trying to make an explosive sound with just two people. During a Raconteurs show, it’s not as intense, it is more about 4/5 guys jamming together, blending their sounds, and letting things flow organically–not about trying to create spontaneous combustion by the sheer intensity of Jack White’s gaze (which is how WS shows sometime feel).
And of course the music is much more folky and subtle than the White Stripes hard rock ‘n’ roll sound, so there was no slam dancing or writhing bodies being thrown around in mosh pits (ahem, Roseland) at the show. Instead there was cheering, and hand over heads clapping, maybe the occasional foot stomp (below, photo by Martin Glenn).
The vibe was upbeat, but not frantic. After having a frenzied and head-smacking experience at the Arctic Monkeys show at Webster Hall two weeks ago it was nice to be at a concert where I wasn’t in fear of death by stampede. The crowd was nice (however, the security people seemed a bit cranky at the rate they were flashing lights into the crowd and yelling at folks taking pictures) and I had a good time. I fully recommend checking the band out if they come to your town.
I know I usually post photos of the shows I go to but no cameras were allowed, so instead I had to do artist’s renderings during the show (below).
The top sketch is of The Muldoons. The bottom sketch is a stick figure drawing of Brendan Benson which I labeled as being “drawn to scale.” Some folks have argued that I’ve made his legs waaaay too fat.
However, some folks were lucky enough to sneak in cameras. Check out the above/below photos that Martin Glenn was able to snap during the set, as well as a video of Brendan and Jack singing a portion of “Store Bought Bones” (NOTE: Please do not use Martin’s photos/video without permission. Thanks!):
WATCH: “Store Bought Bones” by The Raconteurs, live at Irving Plaza
Here’s a link to a video that Favian posted on the Little Room BB:
WATCH: “Blue Veins” by The Raconteurs, live at Irving Plaza
Check out even more photos like the one above over at Amauriaguiar’s Flickr.
RACONTEURS SET LIST: Level/ Intimate Secretary/ Hands/ Steady as She Goes/ Together/ A House Is Not a Motel (Love cover) / Store Bought Bones/ Call It a Day/ Yellow Sun/ Broken Boy Soldier/ 5 on the 5. ENCORE: It Ain’t Easy (Ron Davies cover) / Blue Veins/ Headin’ for the Texas Border (Flamin’ Groovies cover)
The printed set list is inaccurate. It turns out the songs they really played is the same exact set list they did at the London show on March 23.
For those of you who were not able to attend the show, the band will appear on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on May 19th.
Oh and some dude is looking for a tall, dark-haired girl who was dancing in the back on Craigslist.
On the way out, I spotted this lively rock ‘n’ roll pole debate on 15th street…It reads, “Green Day Rocks!” –> “Spsha” –> “Wrong F*ck head, they eat c*ck” –> “But OK Go is better!“. Hahaha.
After the jump, the NSFW/Not safe for children photo and my rant on Coca-Cola/ boycotts/ ethics/ Jack White.
Continue reading “The Raconteurs and Muldoons Bring It On Home at Irving Plaza”