The Raconteurs Level In Liverpool

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

The Raconteurs

They stand accused - The Raconteurs - of being too middle of the road and the place they choose to answer these criticisms is - marked and appropriate - Liverpool.

Jack White is a torrent of sometimes bizarre guitar noises and aural oddness - he dips massively into 1970s influences for the Consolers of the Lonely album just as he does in The White Stripes. Brendan Benson is in search of pop perfection as he approaches - in this writers humble opinion - on his solo albums.

They come together in a band and it is said drag each other to the mainstream. The City of McCartney and Lennon - who could have been accused of the same - cares not and reveals in the return of a band who made a first appearance on the stage they put ninety minutes into tonight.

The Raconteurs are Benson's band in truth - the dynamic seems to be that his cynical arrogance matches White's childlike exuberance - and the shift on Consolers is as much to do with the supposed junior partner's move away from Peter Buck style twanging towards a more bluesy sound that is fused with White's raffling through the decade of guitar excess. If The Raconteurs had released their second album in the 1970s as has been suggested it would have been an oddity.

Odd but they are proud of it and start the show with half an hour and five tunes from the newest record smashing each with passion and verve. Consolers of the Lonely opens and The Switch And The Spur - Gram Parsons fronting Wings - rings clear and stands out. Six songs in and they meld Intimate Secretary and Store Bought Bones into an assault on their first album. They will run through Steady, As She Goes and Together before the night is out to an appreciative support.

However it is in their newer work where the band seem most comfortable and Rich Kid Blues is wonderfully realised. White goes on guitar safari during Blue Veins ending the set, losing a string and staking a claim as the only modern hero of the ax in the process. The effect is strangely entrancing.

Encore of four and Carolina Drama finishes off the night with White turned storyteller - turned raconteur - and an hour and a half of sweat later they depart having pulled off a classic rock n' roll show probably familiar to anyone over fifty but fresh and new to most.

The Raconteurs are a curious act to categorise. Without White they may be no more notable than the support band - The See-Sees - who drift out of memory as soon as they are seen but to assume the more famous partner is liable to be removed is to assume that the relationship between the pair is not level.

Time, and a third release which could very well lurch into the same type of unpredicted alleys as this, will tell.

Written By Michael Wood Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

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