14 September 2005

I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman

Though they are but a two-piece band, the White Stripes were neither visually nor aurally encumbered last night by the relative largeness of the Palace Theater’s stage. The Stripes’ mighty roar filled the venue, yet the band was able to tone it down for quieter songs, too. Interesting cover tunes peppered the set, but the bulk of the material came from their last three albums.

The stage set was impressive. It featured a huge painted backdrop (in the band’s red/white/black color scheme, naturally), artificial palm trees (spray painted white) and, in a peculiar touch, little mannequins were positioned on the guitar amps.

Meg White was wearing a white t-shirt and leather pants. Jack White was wearing what appeared to be a Confederate soldier’s overcoat and hat (in black), but he quickly lost the coat. And it has to be noted that the roadies were all wearing suits and ties – a nice touch, although I imagine the dress code might be somewhat impractical for a rock band’s touring road crew.

Jack White’s voice was a little ragged, but then, he sounds a little raw on the CDs, so that was hardly a detriment to the group’s punk/blues garage band appeal. He switched around among several instruments during the course of the performance, including electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, organ and marimba. And while Meg White’s drum chops aren’t exactly up to Neil Peart standards, she’s the best drummer for the White Stripes.

I was bummed that they didn’t do “Black Math” or “Ugly As I Seem,” but all in all, the White Stripes delivered a great show.

However.

I really hate it when a band gains mainstream commercial appeal and fans who were there “in the beginning” bitch about the latecomers spoiling their little indier-than-thou party, but it has to be said that the bulk of the crowd was made up of people who came to hear “Hotel Yorba,” “Fell in Love with a Girl” (which they didn’t play), “Seven Nation Army” and “Blue Orchid,” period. For instance, when Jack White moseyed over to the piano and started playing Loretta Lynn’s “Whispering Pines,” some of the new “fans” grew restless and started in with the catcalls. So he played about a minute of it and then abruptly stopped.

I have no idea if he only ever plays a minute of it or if he got pissed off, and furthermore, I certainly didn’t go see the White Stripes so I could hear Loretta Lynn tunes, but considering that the band has five albums, the radio hits are going to be outnumbered by the album cuts and whatnot. Those in the know consider it an added bonus when a band performs something unexpected in a live setting. And even though the audience pays for their tickets and, in that regard, the band is working for the ticket buyers, well, whatever happened to common courtesy?

A quick check of various White Stripes message boards showed that the sets performed in Columbus and Cincinnati were noticeably longer than the one we got in Louisville. It could have been that Jack White was in an exceedingly good mood in Ohio, but since I always assume the worst, my guess is that he got annoyed with the buffoons at the Palace that night and figured they didn’t deserve an extended set because of the lack of decorum.

Set list:
Let's Shake Hands
When I Hear My Name
Blue Orchid
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Jolene
Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)
Little Bird
You Can't Get That Stuff No More
Death Letter
Cannon > Little Room > Cannon
Lovesick
Hotel Yorba
My Doorbell
Do
Denial Twist
Whispering Sea
Truth Doesn't Make a Noise
The Hardest Button to Button
- - - - -
Ball and Biscuit
I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
The Nurse
Little Ghost
Seven Nation Army

1 comment:

polly said...

hey j--

it's polly.

just found this, and thought i'd say hello.

sorry, too tired to attempt humor/creativitity!
take care,
polly

ps
are you on myspace? or are you sneering at the mere question?