You may recall that a few Sundays ago, I went to see Taylor Swift in concert, and this past Sunday night I went to see the Raconteurs. That these shows were on Sunday is about all that they had in common… well, that and the fact that there didn’t seem to be much, um, ethnic diversity represented in either of the crowds.
At the Taylor Swift concert, the crowd was mainly female with many young girls. The Raconteurs appear to be incredibly popular with boys of all ages, and I’d guess that the crowd was easily 65-70% male. While singing along and screaming seemed to be the primary crowd response at Taylor Swift, yelling, jumping, and flailing were all pretty common responses at Raconteurs.
The Raconteurs are a rock band. A Big Loud Rock Band featuring five talented guys playing very, very well, and well, big and loud. Their sound is mostly big guitars with a few other things thrown in here and there, with hints of blues, pop harmonies, and catchy hooks scattered in and around. Of course, there’s significantly more nuance on their recorded work, as the live show was (I think I mentioned) loud, with a performance style following a rowdy mix of punk, metal, and classic rock, and certainly all about the guitars. As talented as all of the band members clearly are, the draw of this band is Jack White’s guitar abilities, and his stardom and talent pretty much owned the live show.
Seeing this show reinforced my (relatively recent) appreciation of Jack White. I never really got into the White Stripes, and when he was named one of the greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone, well, I was skeptical on principle. Then slowly but surely, he was involved with awesome and more awesomer projects, and I had to acquiesce… until I realized that I was a huge fan. And wanted to marry him (he got divorced, um, again, this summer).
But one of the really big reasons I love him is because of Loretta Lynn’s album Van Lear Rose (2004). He produced this album, sings with her on one track, and plays on all the tracks. This album was the subject of my very first country music research paper during the first year of my PhD studies, which, in effect, set me on my current academic research path. Upon (re)entering the academy, I had no idea that popular music studies would be an option for my musicological research. So in some ways, Loretta and Jack, I’m where I am today, er, because of y’all. So, you know, thanks for that.