so fun to read someone who gets it so much.
I can't hardly wait to see these two RIP IT UP in Austin!!! I'm counting down the days...(52, to be exact)
In this review, Sanneh writes one of the best, most musically accurate bits about Meg I've ever seen. Praise him!
Also--I will never forget waiting for the show to get started at First Ave, the first time I saw 'em...and seeing the meticulously dressed stage crew--in fedoras and sharp gangster-like suits. Hot.
From the Times.......
July 26, 2007
Music Review White Stripes
If Something’s Missing, All the Better
By KELEFA SANNEH
They were wearing suits! And hats! No, not the two band members: Jack White was wearing red pants and a red T-shirt, while Meg White was wearing black pants and a red shirt. And besides, plenty of musicians dress up when they play Madison Square Garden. On Tuesday night, though, the White Stripes went one step further: those suits and hats belonged to the guys setting up the amplifiers.
Once the show started, the White Stripes were left alone: the two of them spent nearly two hours on a big stage in a big — and full — room. “I don’t believe we’ve played this bar before,” said Mr. White, surveying the Garden. He probably didn’t feel quite that blasé, but he certainly didn’t seem intimidated, or thrilled, or even triumphant. He simply went to work, howling and shrieking and sighing, while inducing his guitars to do the same.
The entire set was red, and carefully positioned footlights projected beautiful shadows of the two onto a huge red backdrop. The only special effect was a big disco ball, but that was plenty. In between songs, he paid courtly tribute to “my big sister Meg” (the two are actually a divorced couple), and to his opening act, the Nashville veteran Porter Wagoner, “the best-dressed man in country music.” (The other opening act was Grinderman, led by Nick Cave.)
It’s astonishing how much the White Stripes have achieved through pure stubbornness. Over the course of six albums, they have sidled up to the rock ’n’ roll mainstream without softening their approach. They still sound as rude and as unhinged as ever, especially compared with the emo and alternative bands with whom they share the modern-rock radio airwaves.
At most rock concerts, there are moments when the machine — the band — briefly comes unhinged: the beat is a split-second late, or the guitar emits a deafening squeal, or a lyric emerges as a formless howl. A White Stripes concert consists of almost nothing but these moments, and that’s the whole point. The two make a fierce, wobbly racket, confident that listeners won’t miss the comfort afforded by steady bass lines and fuller arrangements. Hearing them play is a bit like reading a sentence with no vowels. Wh rlly nds vwls, nywy?
A White Stripes concert also underscores the importance of Ms. White, whose drumming is more sophisticated than many fans (and many more non-fans) realize. She refuses to imitate a metronome, refuses to flatten the songs by making them conform to a steady pulse. Instead she seems to hear the music the way Mr. White does: as a series of phrases, each with its own shape and tempo. In “Icky Thump,” the title track from the group’s most recent album, which was released last month, she occasionally warped the rhythm by shortening one of the beats, perfectly in unison with Mr. White’s guitar. If her playing were mathematically precise, it would be less musically precise.
Much of the set was devoted to songs from “Icky Thump,” which is a bit more raucous than its excellent and unpredictable predecessor, “Get Behind Me Satan.” Where that album found Mr. White experimenting with marimba and other instruments, “Icky Thump” is a return to guitar-dominated tantrums and pleas. Ear fatigue occasionally sets in (that’s one inevitable effect of the band’s ruthless approach), but more often, it was simply exciting to hear familiar traditions — garage rock, country music, the blues — sounding so strange. And Mr. White’s squiggly solo during “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told),” from the new album, sounded downright catastrophic, in the best sense.
The White Stripes are in the happy position of having too many songs to choose from, though they found time for most of their biggest hits, some of which were packed into the encore. There was a singalong version of “We’re Going to Be Friends,” a breakneck run through “Blue Orchid” and, eventually, a thumping rendition of “Seven Nation Army.” But one of the band’s biggest songs, “Fell in Love With a Girl,” appeared only in modified form: a screaming garage-rock hit was reborn, slower and quieter. Perhaps some fans missed the original version. Others probably took it in stride: part of the fun of a White Stripes concert is learning how much you can live without.