The Raconteurs

At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile -- the band won't follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now -- it's clear this effort is more than just a busman's holiday.

At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this effort is more than just a busman’s holiday.

White doesn’t steer this ship with nearly as firm a hand as he does the Stripes. In fact, he and Detroit compadre Brendan Benson share vocal and songwriting duties fairly evenly, making for an interesting confluence of sweet power-pop sensibility and hazy avant-garage attitude.

From the opening strains of “My Baby’s on the Level,” it was clear that those two mindsets worked well together — in large part because White’s and Benson’s voices melded so niftily, the desperate yelp of the former buffered by the latter’s measured tenor. Most of the compact perf — which clocked in at just over an hour — consisted of material from the band’s upcoming V2 disc “Broken Boy Soldiers,” and while few of those tunes break much new ground, each had a serious visceral impact.

That was particularly true of the album’s title track, a frantically scratchy punk screed that seems to be White’s first stab at a protest song. That stance proved something of a surprise — although not as much of a shock as seeing White take the stage in earth-toned Western gear rather than his omnipresent red-and-white mufti (a visual distancing from the White Stripes, to be sure).

With only an album’s worth of material to draw from, the band fleshed out the set with a smattering of cover material, most notably a take on Love’s “A House Is Not a Motel” that emphasized the song’s psychic desperation rather than the melodic breeziness most interpreters apply.

Throughout, White and Benson displayed an effortless chemistry — two parts camaraderie to one part competition — which not only made for an absorbing show, but pointed toward some intriguing offerings in the future.

The Raconteurs

Irving Plaza; 900 capacity; $23

Production: Presented by Live Nation. Musicians: Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, Patrick Keeler, Dean Fertita. Reviewed April 7, 2006.

More Music

  • The cast and crew of "black-ish"

    NAACP Image Awards: The Complete Winners List

    At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this […]

  • Dolores O'RiordanThe Cranberries in concert, Olympia.

    Dolores O'Riordan, Singer and Songwriter of The Cranberries, Dies at 46

    At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this […]

  • Black Eyed Peas Return with Purpose,

    Black Eyed Peas Trade Party Music for Songs With a Purpose

    At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this […]

  • Leslie Odom Jr Leslie Odom Jr.

    'Hamilton' Star Leslie Odom., Jr. to Sing 'America The Beautiful' at Super Bowl LII

    At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this […]

  • Michael Garbutt

    Notting Hill Music Group Names Michael Garbutt Head of Media

    At first blush, the Raconteurs would seem to be little more than a vehicle for White Stripes majordomo Jack White to let off some steam. But despite the purposefully low profile — the band won’t follow up this, its first Stateside performance, until an appearance at Lollapalooza two months from now — it’s clear this […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content