The Raconteurs came to iHeartRadio’s theater in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood Monday night for a record release party for their first album in a decade, “Help Us Stranger” — and, during a Q&A that came during a performance intermission, faced questions about whether they intend to get back on a more regular studio timetable.
When asked by iHeart’s Amber Miller if we’ll have to wait another 10 years for the next album, Jack White joked: “Yeah.” Then he revealed that they actually have plenty of leftover material to work with beyond the 12 tracks that were just released.
“We had over 30 songs we were working on when we did this record, so there’s a lot to be finished if people want it,” said White. “So, with that being said: sounds like ten more years.”
At least fans in the packed, intimate space hoped he was kidding about the possibility of further procrastination. White and bandmates Brendan Benson, Patrick Keeler, Jack Lawrence and Dean Fertita brought down the house and sliced through eardrums with rolling guitars and hard-hitting drum and guitar solos. Bathed in red and orange lighting, they played an hour-long set of songs both old and new, along with the brief question and answer session.
White and Benson chatted about their pressing plant in Detroit’s Third Man Records, hailing that it’s the only record store in the world where visitors can see records being pressed through the back window.
White also discussed mixing his latest songs from a Tesla. He uses an FM transmitter to take his songs from the mixing board to a car, holding a walkie-talkie to report back to the engineer. “Ten years ago, [Lawrence] bought me a present for Christmas which is an FM transmitter, so, in my studio, you can now take the mix off the board and transmit it to an FM frequency and go listen on the radio somewhere,” said White. “So, we go out to the car and pick a frequency nobody’s using and we listen to a mix of the song, but I have a walkie-talkie in the car, and I can tell the engineer back at the studio, ‘Turn the kick drum up, turn the reverb on the vocals here.’ Most of my songs we mix in the car nowadays.”
There was no need for an automotive middleman at iHeart’s theater. In the performance segments, Benson leaned into White as they harmonized their riffs, Benson including a harmonica during some of the tunes. The opening “Bored and Razed,” the first song off of their new album, was succeeded at the end of the first half by a rendition of their signature hit “Steady, As She Goes,” with the band getting the crowd to yell a resounding “are you steady now?”
Returning for the last 30 minutes of the show, the band played songs like “Level” from their first album “Broken Boy Soldiers,” as well as “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)” from their latest, which repeated the lyrics “I’m here right now / I’m not dead yet,” bringing the crowd into the moment to revel in rock ‘n’ roll glory. Just before an energized ending on “Salute Your Solution” from “Consolers Of The Lonely,” White paused to brush his sweaty, jaw-length, jet-black hair.