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The White Stripes Live

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I've been known to go on and on about The White Stripes. Consequently I went to see them play live in Hamburg last week.

I already went to see them last year when they played at Logo a little and studenty club which can take about 200 people. Considering all the recent hype for The White Stripes, a little club like this didn't do this year and they played at Große Freiheit 36, just off the Reeperbahn. I hadn't been there before and it's a considerable larger venue (I saw the capacity stated as 1500 somewhere) while still being quite sympathetic and not appearing to be huge. I went there together with Jörg whom I met for that purpose at the railway station. Richard, who went with me last year, couldn't make it but he got the tickets for us and offered some space on his floor to crash on.

We tried – and managed – to be there reasonably early, ensuring that we're able to have a good place right at the front. Probably that wasn't strictly necessary as we could've still pushed our way through the crowd later on. But that would've been quite rude. The little extra time we had there made us notice that large parts of the audience were considerably younger than we were.

Then Whirlwind Heat came on. They already supported The White Stripes last year. While I didn't think they were bad, I wasn't too impressed either. I also thought their singer was by far too theatrical. The band seems to have improved considerably since last year. I enjoyed many of their songs, the lead singer was just a little bit too theatrical and they tried to look slick and stylish this time around. I like the idea of making music using only percussion, a bass and a singer (and synthesizer) – with the music still being distinctly hand-made.

After a little break, The White Stripes came on and the audience was well excited. The club was quite full by then, so we were happy to have had secured some space right in the third row or so. Once they started playing, everybody was going mad with a lot of jumping about happening. It was quite an effort to keep a good place in all that, but that's part of the fun. They managed to exhaust us quickly by playing many of the faster pieces first. This way everybody was quite happy to hear a few of the older and more quiet songs later on. Meg singing In the cold cold night (predictably?) went down particularly well and cheered a lot.

We didn't really notice how long the gig was, but I had the impression it was long enough, which is good. Sympathetically they only played one short-ish encore not going for the silly encore circus you sometimes see. In short: a good night out.

Other random remarks on the subject: I like the fact that both this year and last year they played plenty of older songs as well. I wasn't too impressed by Jack's new costume-thingy – makes him look like a clown. The same holds for the roadies who (have to?) wear clothes matching The White Stripes' colour schemes. Hotel Yorba is a brilliant song; and it's even better when played live with the couple of extra melody bits added in.

Meg is the goddess on single-handed and hands-free drumming. She looks really bored and annoyed when doing it. Which is sad as she's quite sweet when she smiles. The way she plays the drums looks really girlish but it doesn't sound like it.

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May 25, 2003, 22:18

Tagged as live, white stripes.


Comment by bc: User icon

i thought this info was helpful being that i live in philly and will see them soon at tweter center. the badn rocks, jack has worked hard, and he still can not be broken down. thanks man.

November 14, 2003, 4:26

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