So, if you weren't aware, Jack White got together a new band. A real, full, five-piece band. It's him, a fella you may know named Brendan Benson (who Gothamist interviewed not too long ago) and three of their friends from the band The Greenhornes. And they play this bluesy classic rock sounding stuff. A couple of covers, a lot of songs they wrote together. Standard mid-life crisis fare. You know how you or one of your friends' Dads was in a blues band when you were growing up? And they'd get a kick out of pulling the Volvo into the street and jamming out in the garage with their other middle aged friends? And while you knew it wasn't very good, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, but most importantly, it was just fun to see your Dad really having a good time? Well, that's kind of The Raconteurs in a nutshell. It was really nothing special in the end, but there was joy found from seeing the occasional malcontent Jack White up there jamming out with some friends and a big smile on his face.
On Friday night they played their first and only planned club date in America at Irving Plaza. Stripping away all the gloss...the supergroup aspect, the celebrities in attendance, the instantaneous sellout, it was just a show. A rock show. A descent rock show, at that, but not the transcendent experience a White Stripes concert can be. Nor had it the charm of a cozy Brendan Benson show. The sum, quite simply, did not equal the parts. But I don’t even think that was the point, anyway.
There were some highlights. The band's first single, 'Steady as She Goes,' is quite the toe-tapper. The album-closing track Blue Veins, which sounds ripped right out of an old MGD commercial, was great, as was the Zepplinesque 'Broken Boy Soldier'. And even though musically it was never fully realized, you can’t get tired of watching Jack White manically stomp around a stage with a guitar around his neck enjoying himself. I don't think there were that many in attendance that really expected or cared to see anything more. They looked happy doing what they were doing and it was fun to see those two out of their usual context. In the end however, it turned out to be just a couple of friends who were bored with the day job and wanted to try something new. It’s really hard to hate them for that.