The Raconteurs: Uptown Theater, Kansas City

It’s hard to watch The Raconteurs without noticing the extreme contrast between the band’s two front men. Jack White leans a little towards the eccentric side, fluttering about the stage with the energy of a kid with ADHD, while Brendan Benson quietly goes about his business. White’s guitar work tends to sway more towards to blues side, while Benson sticks to calmly making complex music in a manner that appears quite simple, seemingly shunning the attention that comes with his creations. The two could not be more different. But none of that really matters when the notes start and the crowd begins to buzz.

The group’s ninety-minute set consisted of a format that seemed more like one continuous song, rather than a compilation of ten selections from the band’s two albums, Consolers of the Lonely and Broken Boy Soldiers. However, since The Raconteurs aim for quality rather than quantity, the lack of calm between single cuts seemed less like small talk and more like windows of opportunity from one quality conversation to the next. More importantly, since the group knows how to gather, collect and keep the attention of the crowd, there was not a dry moment to be found from start to end. Boredom never settled in because it was never given a chance.

White and Benson’s interactions were quite amusing, and the groups rhythm section, consisting of The Greenhornes drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence were very tight. The crowd peaked during the band’s encore performance. Playing “Steady as She Goes,” White and company had the Uptown Theater for the taking. White used this energy, commanding the crowd to echo the songs lyrics. And since what Jack wants, Jack gets. Kansas City obliged, screaming his lyrics in a horrifyingly tone deaf manner. It was not Kansas City’s proudest moment. But to be fair, it did made for a very good time.

Somewhat unrelated to the show itself, Jack White showed a piece of himself in Kansas City that I will undoubtedly never forget. Seemingly 90 percent through the set closer “Carolina Drama,” White dropped his guitar and disappeared into the crowd. Seconds later, he popped back out, complete with girl over his shoulder. Apparently, his bassist Lawrence noticed her go down, and commanded the crowd to “Get back! Give her room!” While security struggled to make a move, White took manners into his own hands. Then, without missing a beat, Jack regrouped, and motioned to the band, which picked up where they left off, finishing out the final cut of the night. As though nothing happened, the group took their bows, said their good nights and were gone.

But their energy lingered for days. A truly excellent show by a completely unique band.

more @ flickr

Setlist: Consolers of the Lonely; The Switch and the Spur; You Don’t Understand Me; Old Enough; Top Yourself; Hold Up; Level; Store Bought Bones; Rich Kid Blues; Blue Veins; These Stones Will Shout; Broken Boy Soldiers; Steady As She Goes; Many Shades of Black; Carolina Drama.

The Raconteurs Webpage

The Raconteurs Myspace

One Response

  1. Great blog, and even better show. I couldn’t figure out what happened with Jack and why he ran down to the crowd.

    Cool to know, but that show was awesome, I drove from Columbia Mo to see it.

    That was certainly something I will not forget.

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