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Jack White Is Alright - Raconteurs Rock the Fonda

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Any apprehension about seeing the Raconteurs at the Fonda last night disappeared when they took the stage. On the album, each song sounds like a different band trying on a new style. But in person, they're tight, unified and rock nice and hard and loud (are your ears still ringing a little too?). On tour the band (Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler) is supplemented with a fifth member who mostly played keyboards but added a third guitar on some tunes (wasn’t he in the Waxwings?). About four songs into the set they broke out Love's "A House Is Not a Motel." Anybody who’d just read about Arthur Lee's illness and his recent experimental stem cell surgery had to feel a little emotional. Love is one of the quintessential LA bands and New York’s benefit for Lee blows LA’s away. Anyway Jack White rolls into town and plays a very passionate version of the song (and songs off of Forever Changes aren't the easiest things to pull off). Respect. The band didn't say much during the set. At one point White said something about "all my Latino and Latina family out there” and then at the end of the two song encore, he introduced the band. Brendan Benson added a nice cover of "It Ain't Easy" which most people know from David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. The other big highlight was "Broken Boy Soldier" which many critics have interpreted as White's kiss off of the White Stripes ("I'm through ripping myself off" / "The boy never gets older"). White’s guitar playing was skilled as ever and very engaging to watch. And Patrick Keeler’s got talent. Those rock drummers who hold their sticks like jazz drummers are always way cooler. Much of the crowd was obviously there to see White (he was front and center) but the rest of the band more than held their own. They played through the record, did the two covers and another two songs we didn't immediately recognize (any help?). If you're on the fence about going to the Wiltern show, pull the trigger (tickets still remain for the July 20th show). You’ll hear the record with new ears.

Photo: Hey Jack, why you trying to hide behind Geddy Lee?