The Raconteurs – Bang Bang (Live)

by Alex Hern

The Raconteurs are one of those bands who I’ve always enjoyed, but never loved. Their album just sounded a bit to much like what it was; a bunch of guys playing for themselves, with nary a regard for how others may view it. Songs like Blue Veins are just that little bit too long, lacking that spark that would ignite genuine enthusiasm

But despite that, when they are good, as with Hands and Steady As She Goes, they are not bad at all. And so, when I was offered tickets to go and see them at Brixton Academy, I jumped at the chance.

It wasn’t just The Raconteurs that won me over, though. I’ve seen The White Stripes a few times now, and each tour, they get better and better. Jack is an incredibly accomplished guitarist, and fuck what they say about Meg, I don’t think anyone could replace her without ruining the dynamic of the band. I wanted to see whether this energy could be transferred to an altogether different band, or if they would just retreat into their world again.

As it turned out, neither happened. What they did was bring us – all 5000 of us – into their little club with them. By the end of the gig, they were doing ten minute prog-fest versions of their songs, and rather than being bored, we were carried along with them, waiting, aching for another solo, just so we could hear Jack play again.

About halfway through the set, they launched into what was clearly the best song of the night, a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). Alternating between a chorus reminiscent of the White Stripes cover of Jolene, and a verse dripping out of Jimmy Page’s wet dreams, it had to be heard to be believed.

And that is something that one can do. Because, in what must be a near first, the entire gig was recorded live, and put up for sale on a two CD set that very night. Being able to drive back from a gig listening to a song you heard five minutes ago is rather strange, but very interesting. Unfortunately, something is lost in these recordings. Without being there, and being invited to join the club, it once again feels like a bit of an inside joke.

Still, have a listen, and tell me what you think.

The Raconteurs – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (Live at Brixton Academy, 19th October) [AAC – Removed]