Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jack White at Webster Hall

Have you ever been to a concert, and thought to yourself, "Whoa. This feels like music history is being made"? Some day people will ask me, and I get to say, "Yeah, I was there". Jack White at Webster Hall, and me, six people deep from the stage, looking up and smiling, dancing, throwing my hair around, and pumping my fists in the air to the beat of the drums. It felt like an ultimate moment, one that I will have with me for the rest of my life, I shall relish it, for sure. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to the moment of deliberation for this concert. People waited in line for hours, hours longer than I, just to catch a glimpse of the man known as Jack White.

There were some tense moments, particularly when the astoundingly disorganized Webster Hall staff thought it would be a good idea to shuffle people into the venue bar to wait out another hour. The once easy to discern front of the line became blurred, and suddenly people who were waiting 5 hours were behind people who just happened to show up minutes ago. Frustrated and angry, the devotees of the front line began a verbal tirade on any new face that appeared. There was one angry older man who began shouting things like "I WILL CLEAR THE ROOM" and "DO NOT BREAK THE LINE!", which, of course moved me to start quoting Lord of the Rings, Gandalf style with "YE SHALL NOT PASS!" and stomping my foot. This, luckily broke the tension, and reminded us all that we are all Jack White fans here, and should be friends.

After hours of waiting, and repeated instructions about NOT taking video or photography, they let us into the main stage area of Webster Hall. Then we waited so more. Then an impressive looking trio of black clad Lydia Dietzs  known as the Black Bells came out and performed a charming little set full of pretty sick guitar riffs and rockin' tunes. Hot goth women who can WAIL on their instruments? Sign me up. Then we waited some more. Then they played short films of Jack White and Gary Oldman that only the VIP folk could see and hear. Then all sound cut, and the tension mounted to its ultimate climax of the evening, as the show FINALLY began.

There was an immediate frenzied eruption of sound at the sight of the eccentric man known as Jack White casually walked onto the stage. In his robin egg blue suit, his limp black hair falling in wiry strands across his pale face, flanked by The Peacocks- his band of all female beauty queens who can rock the shit out if their instruments (noticing a pattern here?) a smile creeped up on his face for only for an instant as the first recognizable notes of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" began to play. The floor began to buckle at the weight of 1000 people stomping and jumping. It was utter chaos, pandemonium, and a hell of a lot of fun. Jack played a fair mix of his newest work from his solo album "Blunderbuss" as well as a healthy mix of White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather, along with some covers. It was interesting to hear Stripes covers expanded with a full band behind Jack, but... you couldn't help miss the simplicity of the two-piece unit. Luckily, the nostalgic longing was short lived once I heard the expanded sound of "I'm Slowly Turning Into You" and "Seven Nation Army".

The show was split up into two sets, one set performed with The Peacocks, the second with his band of men, Los Buzzardos. There was even an intermission with a young woman with red hair and a sky blue baby doll dress holding up humorous signs that read "Elvis has left the building, but Jack White hasn't!" and "Jack's home phone number is..." (which I called, and it is indeed the number to Third Man Records). It kept morale up to have the lovely dame there as they switched up the instruments. It also gave way to a second wave of anticipatory tension and another satisfied release as Jack White opened the second set with the explosive track "Sixteen Salines".

His sound has evolved, for sure, and each evolution is inspiring, and has somehow managed to not grow stale, tired, or bored. It is an amazing progression to witness, and I look forward to see where he is heading musically. I feel lucky to have been there, and to have been able to see and hear one of my generation's only true rock stars perform.

The rest, they say, is history... and available to view on YouTube.  

Jack White with The Peacocks:

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes song)
Missing Pieces
Freedom At 21
Love Interruption
Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes song)
Two Against One (Rome cover)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs song)
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (The White Stripes song)
Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather song) (With "Screwdriver" Riff Intro)
Take Me With You When You Go

Jack White with Los Buzzardos:
Sixteen Saltines
I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
Weep Themselves to Sleep
Trash Tongue Talker
You Know That I Know (Hank Williams cover)
We're Going to be Friends (The White Stripes song)
Hypocritical Kiss
Hello Operator (The White Stripes song)
Carolina Drama (The Raconteurs song)
Catch Hell Blues (Fragment) (The White Stripes song)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes song)
Goodnight Irene (Leadbelly cover)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rasputina at The BKLYN Knitting Factory 04/14/12

A passive gasp of recognition lept out of my mouth as the first thunderous notes of Trenchmouth began. It's been some years since I've heard this song played, and I took it as a good sign for the state of the rest of the show. A good sign it was indeed. I've not seen my favorite group of cellists since October, where weird wet wintry weather unleashed its wrath upon Manhatten and spoiled my Halloween fun with snow and sleet. All that bad stormy juju had resulted in a VERY delayed Rasputina, which then in turn produced a shortened set list, and lastly, and perhaps most saldy, a bleeding inky mess of an Indian headdress. This show at the Brooklyn Knitting Factory, as Melora, Daniel, and Dawn tore through the set, seemed to me was an exceptional way to apologize for mother nature's misgivings that fateful October night.

Looking particularly svelte and attractive, Melora had locks of lavender tinted waves flowing out from her head with Mucha-Esque flowers adorning the sides of her face. Her knit top only slightly masked the lower curvature of a rather flattering hip corset completed with a pair of lovely and particularly frilly bloomers. Daniel, handsome as ever wore butterfly wing makeup in tints of cerulean blue and a rather dashing hat with skeletal accoutrements nestled delicately in his billowing mass of hair. His open collared shirt was cinched with a pin striped man-corset, with his camo-socks and dapper brown shoes tapping in time with the cello. Dawn stood out with a crown of flowers, pig tails, and streaks of her of blue and black bangs framing out her heart shaped face. She also wore a golden corset with a delicate white lacey top beneath. I focus on their dress because it made me nostalgic for the days when I would go to a Rasputina show dressed to the nines, with flowing fabrics and lace, and a cinched waist.

The crowd only further deepened my misty eyed reminiscing as a good portion of them were dressed in period clothing and other outlandish getups that I haven't seen in quite an age as well. It makes me want to dust off my doll shoes and red flower corset, for sure. I'd like to hope and think that Rasputina and I have been around so long that we have finally come back around in the carousels of fashion to an age where dressing up for a concert is back in vogue (wouldn't that be grand?) BUT, I digress, my apologies.

Everyone was absolutely beautiful that night. Even better, the way Rasputina and their audience looked paled in comparison to the way they performed. They were burning the place DOWN, one passionate harmonious pluck of the chord at a time! I swear, I saw smoke rising from their bows as Melora and Daniel dragged them fervently across their cello's strings... strings that seemed to positively tremble with glee just to be played. Their was an ecstatic frenzy to their playing that night, and for the first time in quite a while, I could feel the joy in the room flowing out from the musicians on the stage. Melora even cracked a smile, delicate as baby's breath. Further proof of the positivity came when drunkards at the rear bar were becoming cantankerously loud during a beautifully arranged and quiet performance of "Secret Message". Melora looked over from her spot on the stage and simply shouted the ever effective "Shut up!" which surprisingly WORKED. Despite this hiccup  it didn't seem to kill the good nature of the room. The set list was a delicately balanced menu of olde and neue. This was definitely one of the best Rasputina shows I have been to in a long while, and as always I eagerly await the next opportunity to see them- maybe next time I'll dust off the waist cincher.

The Spectacular Setlist:
Humankind as a Sailor
1816, the year without a Summer
Holocaust of Giants
Sweet Sister Temperance
Identity Tokens
Secret Message
Momma was an Opium Smoker
Two Miss Levens
Any Old Actress
I Want You to Want Me
Kinderhook Hoopskirt Works
High on Life
In Old Yellowcake
Retinue of moons/Infidel is Me


The New Zero
Hunters Kiss