Uneven catalog shouldn't detract from the charismatic frontman's live show
Whether in the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather or on his own, Jack White has never been afraid to experiment within the confines of rock 'n' roll, and on his newest solo album, Boarding House Reach, he continues to test the boundaries of the genre.
The thing is, while this new record finds White trying new things, it's not all that interesting or particularly fun to listen to. To hear him sarcastically (I think?) rant about starting a corporation on “Corporation” is a little off-putting given the man is as much an entrepreneurial businessman as he is a bandleader. (Third Man Records is no small operation at this point, and White even co-owns a baseball bat company.) But it's the ear-piercing hoots and hollers that really distract from the song.
“Hypermisophoniac” suffers from the same case of oddball noises that seem to exist for their own sake and not because they add anything to the song.
I've yet to see White perform solo, but I caught him with the Raconteurs years ago and snagged a photo pass, mostly so I could watch a few songs up close in the photo pit. I vividly remember a moment when White looked directly at me with that dead-serious expression on his ghostly face, and it was like being hit with a lightning bolt. The thing is, even from back on the lawn seats, White still conveyed a palpable energy. Aside from Bono and Kendrick Lamar, I don't know if I've ever seen one person command a large audience with such charisma.
So regardless of what you think about the new material, this sold-out show at Express Live is probably worth the cost of admission. (Safe bet)