It is hard to get this review started without shouting from the written rooftop that The Raconteurs just may be the most exciting live rock and roll act playing today…so I will just come out and admit it – they are. Last year, I was underwhelmed upon first hearing Broken Boy Soldiers, but after seeing them live a few times, the richness of the band, and the obvious blast they have playing together on stage proved too much to ignore. Bootlegs were downloaded, YouTube videos of the live show favorite’d and the new album was eagerly anticipated. When Consolers of the Lonely came out (of nowhere) I was ecstatic, as it met the high expectations, but I was left wondering what would happen to these big arena rock songs in the live setting.
Color me (and I would wager 85% of the crowd in attendance this Saturday Night’s sold-out show) uber fans. You can’t help but be swept away in the killer riffing, the thunderous fuzz bass and the singing/screaming from fans and band alike. Before the Racs could take the stage, the Black Lips played for 45 minutes, but major sound problems and a less than impressive command of the venue made it about 45 minutes too long for most, which is a shame because their surf rocky Siren Fest set from last year was great under the Brooklyn sun. However when the dapper stagehands unveiled the main equipment Terminal 5 buzzed and when The Raconteurs busted into the title track off of their newest release the magic didn’t stop all night.
Compared to Friday night’s set there was a looser feeling among the tunes, they were jammed out a bit longer and “Intimate Secretary” eased out of nowhere to become the night’s highlight. The free nature did nothing to curb the ferocity of White’s blazing guitar, the slinkiness of Bensons fret board runs, or the crushing of Jack Lawrence’s bass. The low end of this group provides a foundation laid in granite and allow the rest of the showmen to shine, but Lawrence on bass and Keller on drums are the engine that move this colossal muscle car into gear, rumbling the Raconteurs down the sonic highway straight into your ear hole.
The stadium rock of “Rich Kid Blues” and “Many Shades of Black” soared, as did the pure punk power of “Hold Up”. When Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zinner came out strumming on “Broken Boy Solider” it was simply icing on the cake. What a band, what a weekend of shows, and why aren’t you looking for tickets for when they play your town all ready?
7/31/08 Setlist Raconteurs Terminal 5 NYC:
Consolers of the Lonely
You Don’t Understand Me
Switch & Spur
Rich Kid Blues
Steady As She Goes
Broken Boy Soldier (w/Nick Zinner)
Salute Your Solution
Many Shades of Black