Barely 9 hours after the end of Jack White’s show in Barcelona, here I am writing my impressions while still fresh and a bit in a hurry. I’m up earlier than usual because today I’m flying to Madrid for an interview appointed tomorrow, and have to arrange some things here, thus I want to have this finished ASAP.
I already told you my gradual crush on White, which took years for me to realize I like his stuff, although I’m not a huge fan of his previous band projects, thus I wasn’t too interested in recovering The White Stripes, The Raconteurs nor The Dead Weather’s songs. I just wanted a set list based mainly on his solo album, Blunderbuss.
The venue was full of people despite the expensive ticket, and worst of all, the commission fees. With the increase of 15% VAT on culture and entertainment shows applied from September the 1st, live music is in danger as the promoters won’t assume this costs themselves but will raise the ticket admissions, and we, the fans, the consumers, will have to think more than twice how to invest our money and become more selective at the time of choosing which shows to attend. Anyway, believe me when I tell you approx 50% of attendants were from overseas, perhaps even more.
White, an eccentric genius, has always something different in hands people can talk about. This time, for this tour he’s chosen to be accompanied by two bands, one featuring male musicians, and the other, women. Because he’s Jack White, everybody is babbling with this “brilliant” idea, however there’s a polemic here on the streets about the possibility of segregated education depending on genre. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna talk about that, but seems kind of funny the levels of tolerance depending on subjects and circumstances, that’s all. What the government says is offensive, what White says is cool, and so on.
The male band supported the artist during his performance in Madrid, and in Barcelona it was turn for the girls, The Peacocks. And here I DO have something to say.
I will start saying they were very skilled musicians, although I didn’t like the style of the drummer. No need to say I didn’t like Meg White’s either. There are two kinds of female drummers: Samantha Maloney or Sandy West, and others. Carla Azar, in my opinion, played quite fine but belonged to the others. Nice, well fashiondressed, but playing rough as if to make more noise, and worst of all, touching and placing her t-shirt all the time. I might sound super impertinent, but those mannerisms are non professional. Didn’t like the way she was holding sticks and sometimes when drum rolling, it was quite mayhem.
The band sounded fine, but I didn’t think of it as brilliant. I had seen videos with the male band and they played in a different league, they sounded wicked, and their stage attitude and performance was warmer and brighter. The Peacocks are a band of attractive and skilled musicians, cold and brutally ecstatic. And this is another question. If you are cold you’re dull and distant, if you play sexy and lively, you are labeled as a slut, thus the boundaries for women performing are tough. They chose to be boring, and didn’t transmit any emotion nor passion for what they were doing. I’m sorry, White, give me a classic band and forget about being genuine.
White seemed like an autistic guy, having his own party, alien to the audience’s reaction, which is a symptom of the genius in him. Who gives a fuck ad long and he plays and is enjoying doing what he does? He was fantastic singing, playing guitar and piano, and directing the band. I liked his passion and energy, and the display of his musical eclecticism reflected in the set list.
This is the part which disappointed me most. As already mentioned, I was attending a Jack White’s show introducing Blunderbuss to the audience. I expected 70% of the songs would belong to this album, however, the set list was featured songs from his previous projects, being The White Stripes stuff the most relevant part in the show, catching all the attention from most part of the audience.
People don’t assume the end of projects and the attempt by the artists to keep on solo. It happened with Rich Robinson too. When I was in Amsterdam some people yelled at him requesting The Black Crowes songs. I find it super inappropriate and even offensive. In White’s case, he’s already proved he has more talent to give beyond The White Stripes as to focus a set list in this band’s past time, but he did it anyway, finishing the show with the new Hooligan anthem, Seven Nation Army, and people chorusing like cattle. To me it was discouraging.
Thus the show was a bit irregular, and depending on those intros which took time to get going, the wave of energy, the climax achieved thanks to certain songs, was lost. The intensity was coming and going and audience was getting more and more distracted, with the presence of the crowd noticed over the music, which was wrong, and people seemed kinda anxious, uncomfortable.
Do not think it was a bad show, probably those WS fans were delighted. I particularly enjoyed listening to Love Interruption, Freedom at 21 and Weep Themselves to Sleep. Thus, at the end I’m not complaining, I’m just saying I wanted a bit more of solo White.