Tuesday, March 28, 2006

XL Week Part 2: Steady as they go

Well, The Raconteurs fairly rocked The Vinyl Factory (underneath Phonica Records) in Soho last night. For the short time they played anyway. The XL bash was pretty good. Free food, free booze and good sounds for a couple of hours did the trick nicely.

Arrival and hasty grabbing of beers was soundtracked by a playback of Serious Times, a new reggae compilation of "conscious reggae" (whatever that is) coming out on XL. It sounded good - at least what I heard over the buzz of our conversations. The strangest thing was up next – Aluminium (that’s with the extra British ‘i’) which is basically an "avant-garde orchestra" playing White Stripes tunes. It’s actually better than it sounds but still a bit bizarre. This is also coming out on XL (a limited run of 3333 copies this summer), which makes you wonder just how many White Stripes-related releases they can put out now.

It’s not often that I can say, “I was halfway through gnawing at a pork rib when the headline act came on”. But that’s what happened. No sooner had Aluminum finished than Jack, Brendan and the boys caught us by surprise and took to the stage and went headlong into Store Bought Bones. It’s a shame that the vocals were a bit low in the mix, which meant that we didn’t hear the songs in their full glory, though what we heard sounded pretty good. Tight bluesy rock’n’roll is the order of the day for The Raconteurs. The highlight was obviously Steady As She Goes, but they slowed the tempo down for a not-quite-ballad which was also pretty fine. The set was short (6 or 7 songs) but an ample taster for the Raconteurs live experience and their new album. Then Jack and co. vanished up the stairs and left us to have our bodies jarred by the heavy bass from a DJ set by Various (their album is another summer XL release) and contemplate the rapidly-diminishing stocks of alcohol.

Since XL are keeping a pretty tight guard on the Raconteurs album (no copies seem to have leaked yet), here’s Steady As She Goes again.

Download: Raconteurs - Steady as She Goes

(also it was a pain that just when I had a perfect view about 3 metres from Jack White I forgot my camera. These dodgy phone pics will have to do...)

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