Double-REVIEW: Beck @ Les Schwab (Bend, OR – 5/27/12) and Jack White @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 5/28/12)
It was a long Memorial Day weekend. But it was a musically fruitful weekend. I could have made it more fruitful by adding The Shins / Blind Pilot / Head and the Heart as well as the Tenacious D shows on Friday and Saturday in Bend, respectively; alas, I needed to save some time and energy for Beck in Bend on Sunday and Jack White in Eugene on Monday. It was still quite a great full weekend for my ears!
I had never seen either Beck or Jack White in concert. I was familiar with Beck’s music fairly well… having all of his stuff. I was completely unfamiliar with Jack White’s music – outside of some of the White Stripes and Raconteurs that I’d heard. Needless to say, I was equally excited about both shows.
Beck in Bend was the tail-end of a nice “Bend Ale Trail” weekend for me… sampling some new places for me: 10 Barrel Brewing & Good Life Brewing. Both highly recommended for their beer and their food! Bend also had some lovely weather and some odd rainbows in the clouds…
Metric was Beck’s opener… the Toronto indie rock quartet ripped through a dancey hour-long set. Their fifth album, Synthetica, comes out on June 12, 2012. If the way they had the Bend audience going is any indication, the new album should be a crowd pleaser as well.
Beck went on after a short set break… kicking the show off right with some Odelay goodness by way of “Devil’s Haircut.”
Among his two-hour long set, he bounced around his back and “recent” catalog (2008’s Modern Guilt) fairly well. Every era got some great representation. As mentioned, I had never seen him live before. I was pleasantly surprised with the great mix, especially the songs off of Sea Change…
Beck’s Setlist: about 2 hours
- Devil’s Haircut
- Black Tambourine
- Soul of a Man
- The Golden Age
- Lost Cause
- Sunday Sun
- Think I’m In Love
- The New Pollution
- Modern Guilt
- Paper Tiger
- “Song for Bend” [Improv]
- End of the Day
- Tropicalia [partial]
- Gamma Ray
- Where It’s At
- Encore: Soldier Jane
- Looking Back
Next, on to Eugene…
I missed Jack White’s opener, Quasi. I’d heard of them before, and would have liked to have seen the show (I like Sam Coomes work with Elliott Smith). Alas, driving back from Bend and personal commitments made it so we skated into the venue right as Quasi was ending their set… d’oh!
Jack White’s show… what to say, what to say? Professional, yet muddy. Loud, yet not necessary. Thoroughly energetic, yet confusing. Quite enjoyable, yet painful.
The man writes hooky songs, and plays guitar and piano very well… yet, the sound was cranked through the roof. It lost so many of the lushness and subtlety that I think would have been suited for this show at the Hult Center.
Another thing that can’t go without mentioning, the “III” imagery abounding. Sure, rockstars should have iconic imagery. But a suffix namesake seems like an odd thing to so vehemently brand… unless you’re branding your ego or something.
Several times it seemed as if Eugene wasn’t stroking his ego enough… he quipped that if we didn’t want, they didn’t have to come back out (after their 45 minute initial set). He tried to get the crowd to do a sing-a-long on one song, but it seemed as if the song had ended already, and it was more of a confusing thing (or so it seemed to me).
The loudness, was, again… unnecessary. Fantastic musicianship and seemingly intricate things going on with fantastic players… completely lost in the brash, feedback-induced sound cloud. So many subtleties lost. So many subtleties lost.
Jack White’s Setlist: two sets, ~45 mins & ~35 mins
- Set 1: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground [The White Stripes]
- Missing Pieces
- Sixteen Saltines
- Love Interruption
- Cannon/300 Pounds of Joy [Howlin’ Wolf]
- You Know That I Know [Hank Williams]
- Hotel Yorba [The White Stripes]
- Weep Themselves to Sleep
- We’re Going to Be Friends [The White Stripes]
- I Cut Like A Buffalo [The Dead Weather]
- Steady as She Goes [The Raconteurs]
- Set 2: Freedom At 21
- Trash Tongue Talker
- I’m Slowly Turning Into You [The White Stripes]
- Carolina Drama [The Raconteurs]
- Seven Nation Army [The White Stripes]
- Goodnight, Irene [Lead Belly]
(pro photos from Eugene will be posted at jwiii.com)
The bottom line… I really enjoyed the Jack White show. The flaws that I saw in the show are totally fixable. Who am I to say what he should do anyhow? :) I’m just thinking that something that shows off his musical chops, his writing prowess, his voice, his players, and his songs at the forefront – not clouded by sheer volume – could have been far, far, FAR more enjoyable… and probably far, far, far more enjoyable to more to others (not just me).
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Beck’s Site
- Beck’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Metric’s Site
- Metric’s Facebook / MySpace / Twitter
- Les Schwab Amphitheater’s Site / Facebook / Twitter1 / Twitter2
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
- Jack White’s Site
- Jack White 2012 Tour Photos by Jo McCaughey
- Jack White’s Social Media Links (see below)
- Quasi’s Site
- Quasi’s Facebook / MySpace
- The Hult’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
Next show for me… Emily Wells @ WOW Hall on 6/3.