The Raconteurs, ABC, Glasgow

ABC, Glasgow

One of the mnemonics for recalling musical notation runs like this: Every Good Boy Deserves Fun. The White Stripes' Jack White - for it is he, as they say in Private Eye - would seem to agree. Joining forces with power-pop songwriter Brendan Benson, an old friend from Detroit, he's clearly having a ball kicking back as part of a five-piece band, the Raconteurs.

You can hardly blame him: being the motive force in a band with only one other member and freighted with the expectations that success brings, he must welcome the chance to duck out for a while. Fame, however, is not an easy skin to shed. There are plenty of people in the crowd who cheer White's every move. "Do I get a cheer if I take off my jacket?" asks Benson, amused.

There is something distinctly feminine about the White Stripes sound. The Raconteurs, on the other hand, make boys' music through and through, with thunderous drum rolls and blistering solos that hark back to the golden age of American FM rock: a little bit 1975 and a little bit 1985. There are shameless nods to Big Star, Led Zeppelin - even Sparks and Rush. Broken Boy Soldier begins as a headlong glam tumult before morphing into Deep Purple, and there's a distinct whiff of Spinal Tap about prog-funk-metal romp Store Bought Bones. Benson's warm, grainy voice works perfectly with the controlled hysteria of White's Robert Plant-ish shriek, and though they take turns singing lead, the best moments find them on an equal footing, particularly the irresistible snake-hipped judder of Steady As She Goes.

As he grins wildly throughout the show, it seems a holiday - if not actually playing second fiddle - was just what Jack White needed.


David Peschek

The GuardianTramp

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