Can I raise a practical question at this point? Are we gonna do "Stonehenge" tomorrow?
July 5, 2007 8:29 PM   Subscribe

White Stripes play Toronto YMCA The duo of Meg and Jack White snuck in through the back entrance of an auditorium at a downtown YMCA in Toronto at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday for the latest in a cross-country barrage of small secret shows as part of their Canadian tour. During the short set, Jack pulled four of the children up to the makeshift stage to sing and show off the masks the campers had been creating before the arrival of the rock stars. In recent weeks the band has played on a bus in Winnipeg, at a bowling alley in Saskatoon and in a youth centre in Edmonton.Previously.
posted by KokuRyu (51 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Saw them in Calgary about a week ago, fantastic show.
posted by ageispolis at 8:31 PM on July 5, 2007

Damn. Thought about taking the kids to the Y today for swimming.
posted by chococat at 8:37 PM on July 5, 2007

I work p/t at that Saskatoon bowling alley. I was out of town at the time, but I did go to the concert proper, which was awesome. I managed to get Jack White's bowling ball, and I'm working on getting a bowling pin he signed.
posted by smorange at 8:38 PM on July 5, 2007

It's so fucking cool what the White Stripes have been able to do: achieve an enormous level of fame and admiration as a duo. Guitar and drums. No bass (!), no keys, no backing guitars or whatever. Just 2 people. And because they are only 2 people, they've been able to reach a point where they really, truly sound like one mind. The particular way in which they lock, rhythmically, is very idiosyncratic. The feel they achieve would be difficult or nearly impossible to get with the addition of even one more member. Great band.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:45 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Here they are doing Icky Thump live, June 1st, on the Jools Holland show.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2007

I was at the show in Saskatoon (the theater show, not the alley), I was not a fan before (I didn't really know their music, I went with friends just for fun) but I loved the concert... the White Stripes were great... prior to this I am not sure I enjoyed *ANY* rock band in the last ten years.

I also have to admire the way they toured Canada, playing smaller cities and small venues in those cities - there is no possible way this was about the money.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:55 PM on July 5, 2007

Flickr pics of the White Stripes in Canada.
For one brief, glorious moment, Winnipeg Transit was worth taking.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Jack White is the greatest living guitarist.
posted by caddis at 8:58 PM on July 5, 2007

Jack White is the greatest living guitarist.

B.B. King is still alive. Unless you mean greatest guitarist based on today's output.
posted by smorange at 9:00 PM on July 5, 2007

Also, some YouTubery: Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and White Horse.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:03 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

I saw BB King about two years ago. He was great once, but for whatever reason, he is no longer a great guitar player. He can still sing though.
posted by caddis at 9:03 PM on July 5, 2007

My favourite White Stripes memory: it was October, 2002, in Japan. My son was born the month before. He had to go into the hospital and nearly died, but, a month later, he was fine. The hospital was an hour from my house, way out in the country, so I had to drive. I was listening to White Blood Cells. It was early autumn. I had a fast car, we still had our dog. I stopped and went hiking in a pine forest. The sky was deep (Metafilter) blue. I followed a troop of silent monkeys up the hill. I didn't have a care in the world.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:05 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

Setting aside the wild claims of guitar greatness, I think this is a pretty cool thing for them to do whether or not you like their music.
posted by edgeways at 9:21 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is great. I'm not a huge White Stripes music fan (I do like the Raconteurs) but these two are clearly making sure they have a good time touring, and provide a good time to their audiences as a result. Fantastic!
posted by Salmonberry at 9:32 PM on July 5, 2007

Jack White is the greatest living guitarist.

Y'know, now that RL Burnside is dead, you might just be right, there, caddis...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:43 PM on July 5, 2007

Although I'm not much of a fan, stories like this warm the heart. Thanks for posting.

WTF, Caddis?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:45 PM on July 5, 2007

Aw, that used to be my Y. (Not that I could have been there ths morning, but stijl ...)

So did they also do Apple Blossom?

(And this song performed someplace else starting with Y would also have been a wonderful choice.)
posted by maudlin at 9:47 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dear God,

Please let them play a show like this in Seattle. As you know, my greatest regret in life is that I will likely never get the chance to see The White Stripes in anything smaller than a football stadium. Thank you for continuing to make each White Stripes album better than the previous, thus saving rock and roll.

Oh yeah, and please end the war in Iraq, stop global warming, and let the Democrat nominee be anyone but Hillary.

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:50 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

WTF, Caddis?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:57 PM on July 5, 2007

I was there about an hour after that...weird. Especially considering today was the first time in a long time I've gone to the Y, and I normally use the West End one. Life's funny I guess. It seemed like a totally normal quiet day at the Y, nothing special seemed to be going on at all. No one was talking about it, considering I found out about it just now reading this thread.

Good thing I'm not obsessed with the White Stripes, or this would have been one of those "missed moments" that I would wrench my hands over for years. I saw them once from the top of a parking garage, that will do, I suppose.
posted by SassHat at 10:33 PM on July 5, 2007

a good live rendition of Jolene
posted by jouke at 11:25 PM on July 5, 2007

I saw that they are set to play a really small venue here in Lincoln shortly. I recalled wondering how they got roped into that (it's a low-key converted movie theater) and later thought I must have misread it -- but now it makes more sense. Good on them.
posted by RavinDave at 1:21 AM on July 6, 2007

There are a lot of really great guitarists in the world. I'm not sure Jack White makes the top ten, even. John Harrington, the lead guitarist for the current Steely Dan lineup, is certainly the best I've seen recently...
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:58 AM on July 6, 2007

I think caddis didn't necessarily intend to be taken seriously and at simple face value with his "greatest guitarist" comment, judging by what I know of him. I think he was coming from that certain place of wanting to give props to the guy, and wanting to do it in an over the top way. Saying anyone is the greatest anything is sort of patently absurd, and I imagine caddis is aware of that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:18 AM on July 6, 2007

Jack White is the greatest man in the history of the world.
posted by psmealey at 2:23 AM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Wow, this would have been something to see. Is there any fore-warning of where they'll play next (aside from announced venues, I mean)?
posted by From Bklyn at 2:35 AM on July 6, 2007

*lovingly caresses tickets for July 30 White Stripes show at Sloss Furnaces*

I have an extra one. If you're gonna be in Alabama at the end of the month, you can join me, Tim, Joe, Terry, and Wallace (who is flying in from Yonkers, ostensibly to see his mom and his sister, but actually to go to this show). You'll have a place to crash and a free ticket-- but you hafta buy the beer!*

I'm really looking forward to this show. The venue is an historic old blast furnace in the middle of downtown Birmingham, and the stage is set in what used to be the large casting shed -- it's a dirty, rusty, industrial space with a railroad track running right beside it. Half the shows there are awful (any festival show or prissy jam band), half are transcendent (The Pogues, Flat Duo Jets, The Cramps, Social Distortion, Taj Mahal). I think the White Stripes will fit into the latter category.

Jack White is neither the greatest man in the history of the world, nor the greatest guitar player, but he's in a damn good band.

*The good news is that we have a designated driver and (legitimate) handicapped parking. The bad news is that beer for me, Tim, and Joe will run you more than a ticket and hotel room would have.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:26 AM on July 6, 2007

a damn good band

duo. a damn good duo.
posted by quonsar at 4:22 AM on July 6, 2007

What's their best or signature song?
posted by RavinDave at 4:45 AM on July 6, 2007

Jack White is the greatest being on any world.

BTW, Jimmy Page is still alive.

I think.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:18 AM on July 6, 2007

What's their best or signature song?

The one that's played most widely (you've probably heard it on sports broadcasts) is "Seven Nation Army". Best? Tough one, but I'll have to vote for "Hotel Yorba".
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:31 AM on July 6, 2007

Jack White is neither the greatest man in the history of the world...

Who, then? Gandhi? Jesus of Nazareth, Martin Luther King? Albert Einstein? Charlemagne? Alexander the Great? Bah! Pedestrians.

I'd like to see one of those tossers channel Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page all at the same time.
posted by psmealey at 6:03 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

What's their best or signature song?

I'd say You're Pretty Good Looking, for a Girl.

As a side note, it's kind of interesting to watch Jack do the song in 2001 and then again more recently. In 2001 he's kind of adorably green, while in that second clip he's reach full rock star mode.
posted by gwint at 6:19 AM on July 6, 2007

Greatest living guitarist? Hm. He has yet to reach deity status.
posted by absalom at 7:44 AM on July 6, 2007

Jack White achieves what only a few guitarists have acheived. He has created technically proficient style that is immediately identifiable and will spawn thousands of imitators, none of whom will do it as well as him. How many other popular musicians can you say this about? Hendrix. Page. Townsend. There are probably a hundred, actually, but once you get to this level, words like "best" don't really apply because each has become his or her own thing.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2007

Yeah, the secret show was the talk on the White Stripes bulletin board... apparently someone close to the band leaked a prospective location, and a bunch of us coordinated getting together. I do think that the 'playing on a transit bus in Winnipeg', though, has got to be one of the cooler things that I've read of in a long, long time. Indicative of how fun this band is - and the whole 'must do cross country across Canada' is damn neat (and not just because it's a red and white flag, neither).

There is no one greatest living anything, let alone guitarist. He is a damn good one, though - he does some fantastic things, and Meg's no slouch, neither. Nice analysis, psmealey about him channelling all of them at the same time. I've never been a big guitar person, but man, him and Curt Kirkwood make me love the instrument.

I'm seeing them in Bezerkley - their live shows are indeed a treat. I'm slowing getting into the new album - was a little disappointed with Get Behind Me Satan, but there's some great stuff on this one.
posted by rmm at 10:11 AM on July 6, 2007

Oops - forgot to mention they have a history of playing tiny gigs in unusual places - like a retirement community in the UK, and my personal fav, a kindergarten class in New Zealand. Sorry, no links kids, but Google 'White Stripes + surprise show" or "White Stripes + class act + cool fun + great music" and something might show up :)
posted by rmm at 10:18 AM on July 6, 2007

What's their best or signature song?
I'd say the song (The Hardest Button to Button) they featured on the Simpson's , inasmuch that it's gotten the most mainstream exposure.
posted by nomisxid at 11:00 AM on July 6, 2007

Music is the most subjective thing in the world. I used to think it was cuisine, but... no. I was wrong.

I just don't see Jack as a guitar hero. His playing is really sloppy... and not always in a good way. His technique sucks, he is very dependent on his effects, he's not that versatile, he's usually out of tune, and he plays a shitty, cheap-sounding guitar.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:01 AM on July 6, 2007

...having said all that; I do like their records. I just don't take his guitar-playing seriously... at all. Mentioning him in the same breath with serious players is kind of silly.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2007

Obviously, any "greatest of all time" arguments are silly, chuck d, but I was pleased to see some of the love here for a band (duo) I really enjoy, rather than the typical snooty kneejerk YFBS bs we usually see in music threads 'round here.

Whether he's technically proficient at guitar is something I frankly don't care about, but he is an incredibly expressive player (which means a lot). And, the fact that he's able to pound out such complicated and driving rhythms while at the same time delivering the vocal pyrotechnics he does AND looking like he's having a blast while doing it all is, to me, nothing short of astonishing.
posted by psmealey at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2007

For fans of Jack (no matter how great a guitarist he is or isn't), this interview from the current Esquire.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:49 AM on July 6, 2007

As a side note, it's kind of interesting to watch Jack do the song in 2001 and then again more recently . In 2001 he's kind of adorably green, while in that second clip he's reach full rock star mode.

I actually like the first one better; there's something weird and nasal about his vocals in the more recent clip that doesn't go well with the song.

Also, is it actually the same guitar in both clips? Does he only have one?
posted by escabeche at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2007

psmealy, I think we can agree to disagree.

I like him better in The Ranconteurs... with a real drummer (oh, yes: I said it).
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2007

Hey, kids! Look what I found! An exhaustive site about his guitar style and equipment.

This guy put some serious thought into this analysis, psmealey:
While analyzing Jack White's guitar playing, there are certain techniques and points of interest I have come across that are helpful when playing his songs. Certain tabs become much easier to comprehend with a basic understanding of the way Jack plays guitar.

There is a fair amount of improvisation in White Stripes recordings, and on stage they do not often play a song the same way twice. Some of their most complex songs aren't suitable for detailed, unabridged tabbing because they are meant to be improvised. As a result, I tend to tab songs like "Death Letter" and "Little Bird" more on the basis of technique than perfection, supplying the tools and the directions and letting you build the song. The White Stripes play blues, and their most important trait is contextual honesty, not musical accuracy.

A good rule of thumb when playing White Stripes is that Jack is a minimalist; that is, he generally plays intuitively and does not do anything fancy or unnecessary. Any of his riffs that can be played with open notes, or low on the neck as opposed to high, usually are. Any fifth ("power") chords that can be played lower on the neck, such as A5 and B5, are usually played that way (unless they are accompanied by higher chords). He doesn't usually play full chords when they aren't necessary. He'll bar an A major chord as long as the high e isn't sounded, and hold only the fragments of chords that are sounded. Jack also has a peculiar way of holding high fifth chords, with his index finger on the root note and his little finger on the fifth or barring the fifth and octave.

Jack uses the standard three blues tunings: Open D, Open G ("Spanish" tuning), and Standard, though Jack's guitar is often tuned up (Open E and Open A). I use a few other tunings when transposing piano songs, but they are open to interpretation. The main difficulty with Jack's tunings is that, especially on his earlier tracks, he is simply not in tune. Since he isn't playing with any other tonal instruments, it isn't a concern. He is so often a half step up or down (or somewhere in between) that, as long as it seems unintentional, I do not notate it in my tabs. As Jack once said in an interview, "I love when my guitar is out of tune." If you would like to play along to the recordings, it is easiest to tune your guitar from his bass note.

It is important to keep in mind that every piece of equipment in a given setup affects the final sound. Jack's equipment will not necessarily sound the same through a different setup.

On stage, Jack PLAYS:
Two 1964 JB Hutto Montgomery Airlines
A Harmony Rocket
A 1970's Crestwood Astral II
A 1950's Kay Hollowbody

Which he PLUGS INTO:

A 1970's Fender Twin Reverb
Two 100-Watt Sears Silvertone 6x10 combos

Using at least the following PEDALS:

Electro-Harmonix Big Muff (Distortion / Sustainer)
Digitech Whammy (Octave divider)
Boss CS-3 (Compression / Sustainer)
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:54 PM on July 6, 2007

The administrators' favorite band really sucks.
posted by BeerFilter at 3:55 PM on July 6, 2007

Thanks for the chuckdarwin, that's a nice find. He has quite an assortment of junky gear, I must say. Silverface Twin and a Sears Silvertone... awesome. At least he can afford to have a full time tech with him to keep those rigs from farting out. FWIW, my own playing style and tasted probably tends more toward Richard Lloyd than to Jimmy Page, but I still digs me some sloppy blues. He definitely fits the bill.
posted by psmealey at 4:17 PM on July 6, 2007

As It Happens covered it this evening. When it arrives, it will be here.
posted by Chuckles at 11:18 PM on July 6, 2007

Yeah, The Raconteurs are great.
Here's cover of Gnarls Barkleys Crazy.
posted by jouke at 12:54 AM on July 7, 2007

Aha! The setlist!

Showing up at around 3:30 p.m., Jack and Meg performed “Cannon,” “Sugar Never Tasted So Good,” “Apple Blossom,” “We’re Going to be Friends”, “Martyr for my Love for You” and “Hotel Yorba.”

Jack White invited several children to the microphone and encouraged them to sing. While one chose the classic “The Wheels on the Bus”, eight-year-old Dylan Pile used the opportunity to belt out part of the R Kelly’s song “I Believe I Can Fly.”

And yeah, The Raconteurs and Muse were fucking awesome at the Toronto Virgin Festival last year. (Gnarls Barkley? Not so much. That made me sad.)

*obsessively refreshes As It Happens link, pouts, tries again*
posted by maudlin at 4:45 PM on July 8, 2007

As It Happens: Radio That Refreshes Almost As Often As Your F5 Key
Dun dun, dadadunn dun, dun dun, dadadunn dun, [Jazzy flute solo] ...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:29 AM on July 9, 2007

« Older The 1904 Olympics: Best Forgotten   |   Harry who? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments