Sunday, June 20, 2010

White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights (2010)

I caught this documentary on pay per view on cable that was connected to the SXSW film festival. My interest was raised because I loved listening to Jack White talk in It Might Get Loud, the stunning documentary about what happened when White, The Edge from U2 and Jimmy Paige got together to talk and make music.

The film follows the White Stripes (Jack White and his ex wife Meg) as they are finally allowed to tour Canada. Apparently they could never get the okay to tour the country so when they finally arranged a tour, which coincided with the groups ten year anniversary, they went all over the place arranging concerts at night in small places that almost never get concerts, while during the day they played free concerts anywhere they could, from buses to boats in a harbor to community centers to town squares to bowling alleys. The nights are filled with hard driving rock and roll and the days tended to be a bit more acoustic.

To me the films joys are many. I love the acoustic and off beat material that they tended to play during the days. I love watching the Stripes as they have various adventures say firing cannon or talking to village elders (where they share stories and music). I love, as I said earlier, listening to Jack White talk about making music. Here is a man who knows his stuff and can pass on what he knows in a manner that is like listening to the best of teachers in that it creates a desire to learn more. I also love listening to the usually silent Meg White say a few words. The best thing I can say is that the Whites are a fanatstic pair who are worth following as they travel around the great white north.

If there is any weakness in the film, and this is going to annoy some of their fans, its some of the night time concerts. Yes the music is good, however there is a kind of sameness to the driving guitar riffs that pales when compared that everything else the Stripes did on the tour. After watching the various songs performed in bus boat or bowling alley watching yet another piece where the Stripes stand and square off staring at each other makes it all seem anti-climatic, especially after Jack goes into how he likes to challenge himself. DOn't get me wrong, the music is good, its just not as compelling as the rest of the material.

Its a minor flaw. One that could be easily remedied with a fast forward on the DVD or pay perview remote. Yes that is hearesy, but at the same time its just like hitting shuffle on your Ipod.

Recommended to anyone who likes any sort of music, especially if they like to watch extremely gifted preformers do what they do and also talk about the whys and wherefores.

On DVD and playing in festivals.

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