The White Stripes in concert to kick off the week. The Detroit garage/blues/Indie/Punk duo Jack and Meg White were together from 1997 to 2011, released six studio albums, received wide critical acclaim for their third and fourth albums, White Blood Cells and Elephant. Were an integral part of the Garage/blues revival in their native Detroit and called it a day after a long hiatus in 2011.
The White Stripes were notable for having only two musicians, limiting the instruments they could play live. Jack, the principal writer, said that this was not a problem, and that he “always centered the band around the number three. Everything was vocals, guitar and drums or vocals, piano and drums.” Fans and critics drew comparisons between Jack’s prowess on the guitar and Meg’s simplistic, reserved drumming.
Early on, the band drew attention for their preference for antiquated recording equipment. In a 2001 New York Times concert reviews, Ann Powers noted that Jack’s “ingenious” playing was “constrained by [Meg’s] deliberately undeveloped approach,” and that “he created more challenges by playing an acoustic guitar with paper taped over the hole and a less-than-high-quality solid body electric.”
While Jack was the lead vocalist, Meg did sing lead vocals on four of the band’s songs: “In the Cold, Cold Night” (from Elephant), “Passive Manipulation” (from Get Behind Me Satan), “Who’s a Big Baby?” (released on the “Blue Orchid” single), and “St. Andrew (This Battle Is in the Air)” (from Icky Thump). She also accompanied Jack on the songs “Your Southern Can Is Mine” from their album De Stijl, “Hotel Yorba” and “This Protector” from their album White Blood Cells, on “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)” and “Rag & Bone” from their album Icky Thump, “Rated X” and also sang alongside Jack and Holly Golightly on the song “It’s True That We Love One Another”, from the album Elephant.
Several White Stripes recordings were completed rapidly. For example, Elephant was recorded in about two weeks in London’s Toe Rag Studio. Their 2005 follow-up, Get Behind Me Satan, was likewise recorded in just two weeks.
For live shows, The White Stripes were known for Jack’s employment of heavy distortion, as well as audio feedback and overdrive. The duo performed considerably more recklessly and unstructured live, never preparing set lists for their shows, believing that planning too closely would ruin the spontaneity of their performances.
This concert from 2001 comes right around the time of their highly acclaimed White Blood Cells album and gives ample evidence of the wildly spontaneous nature of their live gigs. Like everything they did, it shouldn’t be missed. And if you missed them the first time around – dive into this concert and get acquainted.