The Raconteurs, The Kills: Live in Memphis

30 Sep

There’s a kind of magic about The Raconteurs.

It’s basically considered a side project for everyone involved: the most well-known of the group, guitarist and vocalist Jack White, is better known as one-half of The White Stripes; bass player Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler are also both members of The Greenhornes; vocalist and guitarist Brendan Benson is established as a solo artist.

Individually these guys make great music, but when they come together as The Raconteurs, it just all fits. Perfectly. The band has made two stunning albums, “Broken Boy Soldiers” and “Consolers of the Lonely,” and, after seeing them live last night, I can say they’re even better live than they are on their terrific CDs. And that’s saying something.

Indie rock band The Kills opened for The Raconteurs at the Cannon Center in Memphis last night (9/29).

I’d heard a few songs by The Kills here and there, and liked them OK, but decided to download the band’s new album “Midnight Boom” over the weekend.

I listened to it for the first time Monday morning before the show and was instantly hooked. With incredibly catchy songs like “U.R.A. Fever,” “Sour Cherry” and “Getting Down,” “Midnight Boom” is a hard album to resist.

The Kills

I was surprised by The Kills simple set up. Using pre-recorded music (mostly drums), the duo played guitars and sang, so the overall stage show kept a very intimate, simple feel. Still, the pair made the music feel huge, even if it was just coming from the two of them.

Lead singer Alison Mosshart has an incredible voice, and she definitely showed off during the show.

The Kills are incredibly fun to watch. See them if you get the chance, and dance your rear off.

The Raconteurs followed, with a very simple but elegant stage set-up.

The band tore into “Consolers of the Lonely,” followed by some of the band’s most beloved tracks like “You Don’t Understand Me,” “Old Enough” and “Blue Veins.” And that live version of “Blue Veins” is amazing. The Raconteurs took a nearly four-minute song and jammed on it for probably about 15 minutes or so. I’m usually not into jamming at all, but The Raconteurs were amazing.

White said he was having some voice problems and couldn’t hit any high notes. The problems were bad enough that he was urged to cancel the show, but he played anyway. For the most part you really couldn’t tell he was having problems, but when he did, Benson easily picked up where White left off. The band perfectly read each other’s cues and the show seemed to happen pretty effortlessly.

The biggest problems came with the encore, but even then, it was still awesome.

White couldn’t sing much of “Salute Your Solution,” so they brought The Kills’ Mosshart back on stage to sing the song with Benson. She had to read the lyrics off a paper (and who wouldn’t have to do that? That’s a tough song to sing). White had guitar problems and had to switch them out toward the middle of the song. He sang a few times for the song, but mostly kept quiet, working on the guitar. It was kind of a rough take, but the energy of it more than made up for the problems.

And that was basically how the show’s closer, “Steady As She Goes,” went, too. Mosshart and Benson traded vocals while White worked his magic on the guitar, and he was able to sing a little. The Raconteurs’ perfectly rehearsed show was gone, so the band got to improvise – and where lesser bands would’ve sounded like a mess, The Raconteurs still impressed.

And impress, they did. Even if you’re not into The Raconteurs, see them live if you can, just because they are so, so, so good live.

Here’s a video someone shot of the show last night; it’s the encore, with Mosshart singing “Salute Your Solution” with The Raconteurs. You’ll notice White’s guitar swticheroo about half way through. And yeah, the band kinda had to recoup there for a minute with a missing White, but it all works out in the end anyway. 🙂
The sound’s kinda spotty, as it usually is in these kinds of videos, but hey, it works:

Here’s the opening song, “Consolers of the Lonely” –

One Response to “The Raconteurs, The Kills: Live in Memphis”

  1. Riley October 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    Thanks for including my vids in your review.

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