The members of VF that aren't being hunted by the sobriety police in Camber Sands are packed in at Brixton for The White Stripes two-night London rout. Here's a rare opportunity to read a bad review.
[l-zone1]Rumour has it that when the A&R bloke went to watch The White Stripes rehearse, the bassist and drummer had gone out the back for a fag, leaving the female singer to pick up the sticks and have a bash at the drums, whilst the guitarist began wailing incessantly down the mic, clomping around in a bad Hendrix impression. Lo-fi is the nu-rock is the new nu-acoustic, but Jack and Meg White‘s return to London is anything but low-key.
[r-zone2]The Academy’s walls await in anxious anticipation, whilst the second capacity crowd in a row are entertained watching Felix the Cat on a mammoth projector. No doubt Jack White‘s attempt to amuse us. A member of the audience shouts ‘Fuck off Felix’, too bloody right. Our intelligence has already been insulted enough. The music industry would have you believe The White Stripes are something fresh and revolutionarily new. It’s as if no one has ever heard of blues infused riffs before! The teen audience can be excused, naiveté is sexy. But for all the balding broadsheet readers old enough to remember all the bands that did this better, there’s no excuse.
The crowd roars, cue Jack and Meg‘s entrance. Jack bows and brushes a tear from his brow, while playing the part of the joker; dressed in red and black lycra harlequin trousers. Meg plays the part of…well the ‘extra’ and discreetly takes her place beside her drums. This just about sets the scene, tonight is another gig carefully rehearsed and meticulously set out with pin-point accuracy.
[l-zone5]No matter how predictable the show may be, always be prepared for the unexpected. SHOCK HORROR!! Cue Jack‘s face plunging like a house off one of those cliffs you see on the news, (guitar lead falls to floor), Jack scrambles around the floor to find the lead – but to no avail. Jack takes to the harpsichord and serenades the audience with a B-side stolen from later in the set. A bewildered fanatic next to me dressed in red and white describes this song as masterful, she obviously thinks he’s just made this song up on the spot. It sounds like ‘Dead Leaves…’ only the rampant guitar is replaced by repetitive chord plonking and Jack’s depressingly ugly wail overawes any semblance of tune.
[r-zone3]Choosing to plug new LP ‘Elephant‘ rather than play some of their more inspiring music, the only highlight of the night (apart from where they eventually leave the stage) is when Meg delivers ‘Cold Cold Night‘ in a truly angelic voice. ‘Pretty Good Looking For A Girl‘, and ‘Hotel Yorba‘ were by far the head banging crowds favourite and if it hadn’t been for Jack and Meg‘s lack of enthusiasm it would have been a near perfect performance. ‘Joleane‘ stood out however, with electrifying purity. The kind that makes hairs stand on end. Jack yanked his heart out, stamped on it and smeared it over the stage, occasionally throwing his head back in pain. If only the rest of the how was this masterful.
[l-zone4]For a band supposedly so concerned with the true ‘basics’ of music, it’s surprisingly how they continue to market themselves upon the vacuous curiosity of those who wonder whether Jack shags his sister, how he does this and of course the colour of their clothes. Fun to watch, but it’s more fascinating to watch the fad burn out, the trunk cut open and the ivory used for a nice new piano.