Jack White’s live performance crashes down upon the leaping heads of the audience.
Just five days after the release of his third studio album, Boarding House Reach
, and a handful of hours before his sold-out London gig, Jack White was found performing a free gig in the courtyard of London’s oldest pub, The George Inn, today. White and his band roared their way through a selection of songs from across his career, including some White Stripes classics. The setlist was expansive and well appreciated by a crowd that had been queuing since before midday, for the intimate concert that didn't start until gone 5pm. With news of the show breaking 9 hours before White took to the stage, fans flocked to the venue, with free beer – an exclusive Jack White ‘Humoresque’ beer named after a track on the new album – proving a welcome reward for those 400 lucky enough to make it inside.
As the doors opened the rain eased, and by the time Jack White and his band took the stage the sun was shining down on the crowd. Opening with Boarding House Reach
single ‘Over and Over and Over
’, the set included White Stripes tracks ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
’ and ‘Fell In Love With A Girl
,’ as well as Lazaretto
’s titular track.
White informed the crowd after the fourth song that he’d been asked to stop there, but the resulting roar from the crowd spurred him on to play a further four tracks. As one would expect from White, the eight tracks stretch out sublimely to almost an hour filled with glorious jams, solos, and elongated bridges, with the sound, crunchy and raw, in his signature style. His studio releases often have sufficient grit and power to sound like other bands’ live recordings. But, as with this one, his live performances go an extra step further and crash down upon the leaping heads of the audience. Early in the performance, technical difficulties mean that the mix was devoid of bass and synths. In that moment, the robustness of White’s guitar-playing and vocal shines through, along with ferocious drumming anchoring the tracks so effortlessly, that those in the audience with their eyes closed, don't even notice the issues.
But then, all too soon, it's over. Jack White walked offstage, and as the audience chanted, fruitlessly it would turn out, for “one more song,” it started to rain once more.
Listen to Jack White's new album Boarding House Reach below
Photo credit: David James Swanson