Friday, July 28, 2006

The Raconteurs @ the Moore

I got a call from my friend David yesterday, informing me that he had an extra ticket to see the Raconteurs (see the recent piece in The Stranger) last night at The Moore. So, I took him up on the offer and went down to the big rock show.

We arrived a little more than two-thirds of the way through the opening act's set. Kelley Stolz is the name, and I've got to admit I know zero about them/him (I don't even know if it's a band or a solo person and hired guns). But, he/they have five releases under his/their belt, according to the website. My experience seeing the group perform was much like the first time I saw Jonathan Richman -- like everyone else was in on a private joke. Perhaps it was simply because I arrived late, but the main guy ("Kelley" perhaps) kept doing this thing in between their songs where he would sing in a loungey voice about various things happening in the room. People were laughing like it was a comedy routine. But, I didn't get the joke.

When they played songs, I really enjoyed their sound. The tunes were super short, but creatively arranged and catchy.

Then after a brief pause for set change-over, The Raconteurs took the stage. Now, I have heard their single "Steady As She Goes" a million times over, and I've been exposed to the rest of the record to varying degrees. But, I wasn't prepared for the full-on 1970s arena rock onslaught of their set. I don't want to make a direct comparison here, because that'd be ludicrous, but the bombast of the first few songs make me think of KISS concerts from the 1970s. Sure, there wasn't the circus of blood, 10 inch tongues and firebombs. But, the sound was pure arena rock.

And I don't mean that in a bad way. It's been a long time since my senses were truly "rocked" in that way -- and heck, only five rows of seats were between me and the back wall of the second balcony (where you are essentially looking down onto the top of the band's head). So, good on them for rocking out!

That said, I'm really more of a song guy, and they lost me a few times with the extended guitar jams. I turned to my friend David at one point and said in my best stoner voice, "I think they're going to do Dark Star tonight."

But, they never did (thankfully). They stuck to the rock, and you can tell it's a band that is comfortable with one another on stage. [Sidenote: When did Jack White become a big ol' rock star? I've apparantly been spending too much time in smaller clubs, because it was a little weird to see how the audience responded to him.] Brendan Benson is the perfect pop foil for Jack White's guitar histrionics, and their voices blend well when they're both singing.

After the rote encore of "Steady As She Goes" we hit the door and I was at home, in bed by 11:30pm. And, in the end, that's exactly how I'd want to see The Raconteurs... get in, get out, get home and get to bed early. Maximimized experienced acheived.

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