Jack White – O2 Brixton Academy
Where: Brixton, South London
Okay, so that might have been a massive lie. Jack White is actually a beautiful specimen of a human being. Yes, he looks a bit like the devil sometimes, but… he’s amazing. And I love him. To a ridiculous extent. So much so that I very nearly blacked out about half way through (probably due to illness rather than seeing him though). I wonder if he’d have come to pity me if I’d really collapsed… Anyway, not to linger on appearance for too long, but he rocked a rather fetching pair of black and white striped trousers. They were so bright they deserve a mention. As do his impeccably dressed roadies in their suits and trilbies.
Moving on! Performing with his all-male band, the set consisted of an even mix of solo stuff and tracks from White’s other bands (nine of each, which I assume is part of his obsession with the number 3), and opened with 'Black Math'. Not exactly easing us into the night with that explosive track, I decided that I should say goodbye to my eardrums. Having an entire band perform songs originally played by two people means there is going to be a lot of reworking, which at first was a slightly daunting thought, but this is because I don’t like change. It scares me. However, once I’d accepted the fact that Jack White can do no wrong (ignoring that collaboration with Alicia Keys) I decided the tracks still sound fantastic, and the additional musicians give a greater depth and power that could never be achieved by a two-piece.
Storming through three Blunderbuss tracks, it wasn’t until 'Hotel Yorba', from The White Stripes’ second album, that there was a full on sing-a-long. The track was played twice as fast with a country twist, and rather than stood in a theatre in South London it felt as if we should be celebrating in a barn! This reaction clearly amused White as he commented on how a day’s sunshine can suddenly make the British very happy.
Unfortunately the current single, 'Freedom At 21', didn’t seem as strong as it does recorded. The weird high-pitched wobble that sounds interesting on record was more ‘interesting' live. Those oddities in songs always seem to fail somewhat when they’re performed, which is a shame, because the rest sounded great!
'We’re Going To Be Friends' was the emotional song of the night, particularly as it was still kept very simple and sweet, providing a stark contrast and nice change to the rest of the riff-heavy set-list. Towards the end of 'Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy' was when my brain decided to fuzz and I went blind and deaf for a while, meaning that the rest of the gig is pretty blurred. Apparently I missed 'Ball And Biscuit', so I’m not too pleased. What I do remember, however, is 'The Hardest Button To Button' being excellent (at least I think it was) and having my mind blown watching the male keyboardist singing the incredibly high-pitched backing vocals to the closing song, 'Take Me With You When You Go'. He must have been wearing very tight trousers.