Ever since their first shows in March, The Raconteurs have barely been away from UK shores, and for an act that is meant to be viewed as a side project for the players, it seems to be getting a lot of focus. Not that anyone in Glasgow on the first night of the new tour was complaining.
The make-up of the band has been debated much this year, allowing Jack White a chance to indulge in a group based activity and allow his colleagues more of an opportunity to shine, and it appears to be working well for everyone. What has developed over the months is the showmanship and interplay between the band members. The bands initial UK shows in the Spring focussed purely on the songs with any virtuosity kept to a minimum. This show featured many extended bluesy workouts and extensions, a sign the band have been working hard at their craft and are determined to take this side-project seriously.
Which is the best thing that arises from The Raconteurs show, the band are clearly enjoying it for what it is and the performance shines for that very reason. As White and Benson trade vocals, the sense of fun and spirit is noticeable and hints at a lack of ego or superiority complex.
With only an albums worth of material, it's inevitable that covers would play a part in the show, as they have done so throughout the bands sets to date. David Bowies 'It Aint Easy' crops up early in the evening, drenched in feedback which subsides enough in the chorus to allow Jack to unleash a killer melodic line or two before the vocals get reburied in the fuzz, although the backline does hustle things along quite well. With covers of Nancy Sinatras 'Bang Bang' (written by Sonny Bono before any pedantic comments appear) and The Flamin' Groovies 'Heading for the Texas Border' helping to expand the set, the more opportunities there were for the band to relax and play quite carefree.
Even in their day band The Greenhornes, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler are quite impressive in laying down that Detroit sound that bounded from not only Jack and his girl but the Von Bondies as well, and it's this partnership that forms the cornerstone for The Raconteurs growing sound. The albums title track, 'Broken Boy Soldiers' featured as the last song before the encore and was as blistering as possibly could be imagined. The Indian raga feel of the albums track is maintained but with the tribal drums combining with Whites treated vocals to create a mesmerising yet punishing sound, the track is a clear highlight of a very consistent night.
Perhaps due to the band recording and selling all of the shows on this tour, there was a lack of between song chat from the band, whereas previous shows featured many pieces of banter and joking. One comment which did come from Brendan Benson did allude to the fact that Glasgow seemed a place where they liked to clap, and perhaps he has been around the city on a Saturday night before. He certainly wouldn't be the first person to have discovered the clap on a Glasgow Saturday night out. This jovial talk lead into 'Steady As She Goes', the bands debut single and another favourite with the crowd taking their cue to jump and bounce with as much vigour and energy as the band showed.
Yet another great show from a band who appear to be getting stronger and stronger with every tour, which may eventually dismay fans of their original acts.