On December 7th, the White Stripes will release Under Blackpool Lights, a live DVD filmed during the band’s January performance at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England. Select U.S. theaters will screen the film — along with bonus scenes not available on the DVD — on December 9th. The film was directed by Dick Carruthers, who has chronicled the live performances of the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Led Zeppelin.
“They’re quite unique, I can safely say,” Carruthers reports of frontman Jack White and drummer Meg White. “The way that they play, the sounds that they make and the relationship between them, which is both strong and ambiguous at the same time — it’s quite a powerful combination.”
The seventy-five-minute film includes staples like “Seven Nation Army” and “Hotel Yorba,” as well as the band’s cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Much of the footage was shot on Super 8, which deliberately gives the movie a dated, grainy look. “The texture and color of the film itself becomes an expression of the White Stripes’ sound, which is raw, retro and iconoclastic,” says Carruthers, who adds that many of the comedic moments and extras on the DVD were Jack White’s ideas.
This past spring, the White Stripes pulled the plug on another concert film, George Roca’s Nobody Knows How to Talk to Children. The group had the documentary, culled from of a string of 2002 gigs at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, banned from circulation after its premiere at the Seattle Film Festival, citing disappointment with the look and sound of the movie. “They rigorously adhere to their aesthetic,” says Carruthers.
As for Blackpool’s single night on the big screen, Carruthers is excited, announcing, “It’s a beast in the cinema.”
The White Stripes’ Under Blackpool Lights December 9th screenings
New York, Empire 25
Burbank, CA, Burbank 14
Chicago, River East 21
Springfield, PA, Marple 10
San Francisco, Van Ness 14
Boston, Fenway 13
Washington, DC, Mazza Gallerie 7
Atlanta, Phillips Plaza Mall
Livonia, MI, Laurel Park 10
Seattle, Pacific Place
Edina, MN, Southdale Center
Westminster, Co, Westminister Promedade 24
San Diego, Mission Valley 20