You may know them as The White Stripes.
Whatever you call them, Lesley and I were lucky enough to get floor tickets last night to see them here in Calgary.
We arrived around 7:45 and milled around the foyer until the opening act was done (no offense, opening act, I’m sure you were magnificent in your own right) visiting with Caley, buying beer, making fun of what some people were passing off as stylish clothing these days (yes, mr. white belt and shoes with blue slacks, I’m talking to you).
The acoustics in the Saddledome are dreadful. Most sound techs try to overcome this through brute-force volume, and this was no exception; this tactic works in cases where loud is already necessarily better (ie. System of a Down), but only for the floor audience – it doesn’t work very well for bands like the White Stripes, where at least half of the value is in the clarity of the guitar work.
Foregoing the less than ideal setting, the show was really good. Plenty of energy from both Jack and Meg, which was especially surprising as I’ve often wondered (while listening to their studio work) if Meg only has one arm – she never breaks 120bpm, but seeing her perform live it turns out she’s hitting every single beat as hard as her little body will let her. It’s pretty obvious that she’ll never have a drumming career outside the White Stripes, but her simple (snare, bass and a double-dose of cymbals) 8-beats serve as good punctuation to the real content of the show: Jack.
Jack seemed to be having a genuine good time, but I don’t think he realized there was an audience half the time – he’s playing every song for himself or Meg, and in some cases, both. About 40 minutes in he switched out to an acoustic steel guitar with finger slide for a few songs, including the Catch Hell Blues, which was the climax of the show in my opinion.