The Raconteurs @ The ABC, Glasgow 3/21/06

Reader Andrew C. wrote in with a detailed recap of last night’s Raconteurs’ show in Glasgow (it was the band’s second-ever). Of course, we had to share:

Four songs into their second ever gig and the cracks are already beginning to show. Brendan Benson seems to be starting to realise who the real star of the Raconteurs is – “What, you mean I don’t get a cheer when I take off my jacket, but he does?” But this is Glasgow, a city that loves Jack White. The Carling Academy recently played host to the White Stripes three nights in a row, and each night sold out in a matter of minutes. But the Scottish audience’s love of the White Stripes only partially explains the indifference to Benson. Let’s face it; any rock star wearing a kilt is going to steal the stage in Scotland’s largest city.

Jack isn’t just wearing a kilt though. Full Highland dress is the order of the day, thick white socks up to his knees with black flashes, white furry sporran and a traditional Argyll jacket. The only nod to his rock star status is his black t-shirt, which is revealed two songs into their set as he throws his jacket to the side of the stage. The women in the audience go wild, prompting Benson’s failed attempt to please the ladies a couple of songs later. If it sounds like parts of the audience appear to be only here to ogle Mr White, then that is a fairly valid assumption; groups of women were in attendance as though this was just another girls night out. The conversation wasn’t so much about the music, more about Jacks hotness – “I hope we see a lot of his back. He has such a sexy back.” Despite this, there were at least some people in the ABC that were there for the music.

They sound as they do on their only single released so far; a good blues inspired rock band. Tonight they are a five piece. In addition to Jack, Brendan and the rhythm section from the Greenhornes, they have Dave Fertita on keyboards. The surprise is Jack; without the burden of having to create the background noise himself he is free to go off on Neil Young-esque solos. The tunes are solid and in the main manage to keep the crowd entertained, although on occasion the band really does sound like this is only their second gig. But the missed notes here and there don’t detract from the music. The best song of the night is a slow number on which both Jack and Brendan take turns at singing the lead vocal. It was received almost as warmly as “Steady As She Goes.”

Based on the performance in Glasgow, Jack is the dominant force in the band. Maybe it was the swish of his kilt as he swept across the stage, or just the quiet word in everyone’s ear before they ripped through a cover of Bowie’s “It Ain’t Easy,” but Jack seemed in control. This is not to say that the others minded, and Benson even played lead on their cover of Love’s “A House Is Not A Motel.” But even sonically you could hear Jack’s guitar drifting off into White Stripes territory.

They left the stage to rapturous applause slightly early, and the audience were expecting an encore. And they returned for just one number in the nick of time; some of the crowd were starting to boo. Which, in a strange way is a bit of a compliment; the Raconteurs were good enough for them to want more.

Oh, and Jack’s kilt? You’d probably expect it to be a red and white, but he was wearing Black Watch tartan; a kilt with black and white stripes on a GREEN background. Those candy cane coloured days appear to be over. For the time being at least.

Cheers, Andy! If you’ve ever got cool concert reports this lucid (after five pints of Kronenbourg, Andy admits) send ‘em our way.

Watch the Raconteurs’ music video for “Steady, As She Goes” here (QT).