While most grown brothers and sisters are competing with each other by showing up for Thanksgiving in progressively bigger Lexuses and exchanging snipes across the dinner table, Jack and Meg White are making rough-yet-harmonious music together in Detroit Rock City.
Thankfully, their duo the White Stripes is utterly devoid of old Detroit rock clichs (you know Stooges nostalgia, really big guitars, the idea that it”s still 1969, songs that name-drop local brews ). That said, if there were ever any doubts about the White Stripes hometown, the song “The Big Three Killed My Baby” pretty much answers the question. Like good politicians, the White Stripes are tuned into their hometown”s needs even though they spend much of time abroad (Sympathy for the Record Industry record has sent them out touring Australia, Japan and the USA several times). They will be stumping in Detroit on Saturday, so get a ticket fast the hometown crowd will undoubtedly pack the Magic Stick to capacity.
The White Stripes are lovely on the outside but have a few screws loose inside that pretty head of theirs they”re missing crucial elements, like a bass, most chords and fancy guitar stylings. But wait, who needs “em? Proving that all you need is “two boards and a passion,” they create lovely yet wonderfully crude music that flies across a sprawling landscape and then sneaks up on you in an alley. The music is by no means rudimentary, but it is simple in a manner that gazes at the surrounding scenery, eloquently spits on it, and then lights a cigarette.
On their third and most recent album, “White Blood Cells,” these peppermint kids (they never appear in anything besides white and red) write anxious just-got-out-of-jail music that is scrawled on the depressing cement cell-block walls of rock-and-roll. However, 25-year-old Jack has a heart full of the Delta blues, and howls like a man who”s seen three times what is appropriate for his age. Meanwhile, Meg bangs away on her drum set almost halfheartedly in the background, and the effect is intriguing. Rock music may be their prison, but they”re about to break out.
On “White Blood Cells,” the White Stripes make it clear that they”ve found their American Dream and still aren”t impressed. So, on Saturday night be ready for cocky Americana-blues combined with an elusive melodic streak. The White Stipes are crude and rude and probably never respected their parents, and we love them for it.