The White Stripes, Zénith, Paris
Tuesday 18 October 2005
Jack White marches on in a top hat, and the first, distorted chord of his guitar brings the curtain down behind him, revealing a huge apple hovering menacingly above a tropical bay - the Garden of Eden?
It's an appropriate framing for the psychodrama to be played out across Meg's bright red drumkit. In the past, the tension between the pair seemed immediate and real. Inevitably, it's more of a show now. But when Jack sweetly intones the closing lines of Bob Dylan's "Love Sick" to Meg's face, and she deigns to hit her drum softly, for once, you can't fault the acting.
To start, Jack appears bionically attached to his guitar. Grinding out the riff to "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground", every stroke of his right hand has its corresponding jolt of the head as he moonwalks from Meg.
This year's Get Behind Me Satan album, light on guitars, proved the Stripes' ability to vary their sound within their own constraints. The swiftly recorded album was criticised for sounding undercooked, and live performance does nothing to remedy that. Ever restless, Jack is constantly experimenting with new ways to sing his songs - some of which make him sound like a small dog in pain.
But what songs they are: "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)", "Little Ghost", "Red Rain" - to name only the cuts from Get Behind Me Satan - combine inspired tunes with wonderfully skewed takes on love and morality. Then there are the classic rockers from 2003's Elephant: "The Hardest Button To Button" and "Seven Nation Army" both set an arena of fists a-pounding.
There are still moments when it doesn't come together and the chaotic noise gets wearing. But even these seem to fit the package: unrehearsed passion and stylised performance, nostalgia and modernity, Jack's machismo and vulnerability. In rock music today, there is nothing even remotely like them.
The White Stripes tour Britain from 5 to 17 November
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
Evian Christ cancels Reading festival appearance after being 'trapped in a cage' at Leeds by staff
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn