The Raconteurs Perform Tracks From ‘Help Us Stranger’ Alongside Fan Favorites at Intimate L.A. Show
After eleven years, The Raconteurs have finally released their third studio album, “Help Us Stranger,” and celebrated the occasion Thursday night at an intimate concert at L.A.’s Jewel’s Catch One. Technically a secret show, tickets weren’t made available to the general public until hours before, and the fans turned out to pack the small, old-school club on Pico Blvd. All proceeds went to GSA Networks, an organization dedicated to protecting trans and queer youth and fighting for racial and gender justice. This choice of charity is especially fitting considering that the venue in which they played was once an iconic gay dance bar largely patrionized by people of color.
Frontman Jack White, who first came to fame as one-half of revered Detroit rock duo The White Stripes, may now call Nashville home, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. This was made clear when he The Raconteurs opened with “Bored and Razed,” a high-energy track off the new album that pays homage to the Motor City, which is also the hometown of bandmate Brendan Benson. While The Raconteurs is often referred to as being White’s band, it was apparent Thursday night that Benson is just as much of a driving force, and he and White proved to be rock ‘n’ roll soulmates, especially during songs like “Level,” a track off of their first album, “Broken Boy Soldiers” which, like so many of their songs, has a feel-good retro energy. Other songs that evoked this feel and got the crowd going included “Don’t Bother Me,” “Broken Boy Soldiers,” “Help Us Stranger,” and “Hands.”
But White and company also have a softer side, one that comes through in more soulful tracks like “Only Child,” a song from the new album about a prodigal son. White is especially vulnerable on“Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying),” a moving tune about dealing with depression. “Old Enough,” a midtempo song from sophomore album “Consolers of the Lonely,” features a wistful White giving advice to a younger person.
White was certainly amped while onstage on Thursday as he excitedly spoke to the crowd about the importance of community. He gave a shout out to Josh Homme, as the Queens of the Stone Age frontman turned out to support his peer. The Raconteurs’ set concluded with a lengthy and satisfying encore that included future hit “Sunday Driver,” a banger showcasing the band’s signature sound. White’s guitar skills were on full display during “Salute Your Solution, as he riffed while leading a sing-along (“I got what I got just to spite you…”). As this show was to be the last one on the tour for sound engineer Joshua V. Smith (he’s leaving to get married), White dedicated “Now That You’re Gone” to his friend. The evening ended with the band’s most well-known hit, “Steady, as She Goes,” and the crowd, which was enegard throughout the whole show, let especially loose, singing and dancing during theses final moments.
The Raconteurs will next play Los Angeles on July 26 at a more airy venue, the Greek Theatre. “Help Us Stranger” is now available to purchase and stream.