Wednesday, June 11, 2008

the raconteurs. rock.

just got back from a Raconteurs show (not my pic above, something i grabbed from Flickr). they rocked.

this pretty much rounds out my [current] list of bands that i've wanted to see (to be fair, this is an ever expanding list*, but 2 years ago i became obsessed with the Raconteurs & Wolfmother when both of their 2006 debut albums came out, and i got to see WM just before leaving for Asia). and yes, i keep track of every show i've been to.

interestingly enough, i got to the Raconteurs in a very roundabout way. there was a local band Cathedrals i randomly saw at Southgate House (opening for the Arcade Fire back in 2004). they rocked, and being a local band, i decided to see when they were next playing. at the next show i struck up a conversation with the cute girl at the door (trying to get some indie music tips from her), and she mentioned her recent obsession w/ Detroit power pop rocker Brendan Benson, who would be playing in a few weeks at Southgate (my favorite venue in the greater Cincinnati area, i say this because it's across the river in Newport, KY). so i dragged some friends to that show + loved it. he had this very deliberate air about him, and knew how to combine all the right elements and timing to make a sensible sort of rock you wanted to listen to. he also sort of reminded me of a taller, skinnier version of a good friends ex-wanna-be-rocker boyfriend (Peter?). and he was a nice guy, so the air of pseudo-familiarity didn't hurt. i enjoyed myself, and bought the album then + there (unusual for me), which quickly + easily made it's way into my regular music rotation.

some time later, i heard Brendan was collaborating with fellow [more famed] Detroit rocker Jack White on a side project, and a couple of dudes from the local Cincinnati band the Greenhornes (who i had never seen but heard quite a bit about). i had never become a White Stripes fan (i knew i should have been, but like the Beatles, these are things you discover later in life and regret not having become obsessed before), but was intrigued. then the debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, came out. seriously. it gave Wolfmother a run for their money. anyhow the album rocked, but i never got to see them, until tonight.

and it's interesting. Brendan + Jack play surprisingly well off eachother. Brendan is the more soft spoken methodical rocker with a refined talent. Jack White is pure electric rockstar insane energy. i got a better feel for the latter the past few weeks when, upon hearing the Raconteurs new release "Salute Your Solution" (i swore it was a White Stripes song, and scoured my rarely-listend to collection of WS albums to find it, only to discover the power of Meg + Jack White).

anyhow. back to Brendan Benson + Jack White. it's like they're two childhood buddies just discovering they both play the guitars. you can hear this, but was apparently evident at the show. they make a great set of duel frontmen (w/ Jack sometimes stealing the show, but Brendan graciously stepping aside for a bit). the guys from the Greenhornes aren't too shabby either. the new album, Consoler of the Lonely , brings Jack more the front end, pushing Brendan out of his comfort zone and into the rocker that he was born to be, but always too sensible to become. the combined talent (+might!) of the group is somewhat reminiscent of the Traveling Wilburys, except a decade sooner than Tom, George, Bob, Roy, and Jeff decided to get together. and i'm thankful for this.

i only wish other [rock] artists would explore similar unions for something beyond a side project or a single.

the results are spectacular.

and if you don't listen to any of the bands i said above, and you like good music, seriously, what's wrong with you?

*sadly, i will not be seeing the Beatles, Nirvana, Boston, or the Who anytime soon (and despite what Billy Corrigan says, the Smashing Pumpkins are NOT back together), so none of these guys make the list. my heart could never take the disappointment.

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