April 25, 2010
“Under Great White Northern Lights” is your average black and white, or overexposed, not too telling tell-all band docu, following The White Stripes on their first Cross-Canada tour. From the Yukon to St John’s NewFoundland, from soft seaters to quirky free shows at the local flour mill, this DVD release is on the surface just as calculated and pre fab as some accuse the Stripes being themselves. Red T shirts, a live show that’s just messy enough for cred, a lead singer adept in making rumours his legend making best tool.
But if you watch a little closer, you may see…well, Jack.
A phenomenal guitar player and supremely skilled all around musician and arranger. No I don’t believe him when he claims, soapbox style in an interview the filmmaker puts on, that their live show is as free and un-mathematical as he claims. But have you watched this show? I mean the music aside from showmanship. It’s fucking loud, flawless and intricate- Drum perfect planned out parts for non-drummer Meg use her flaws as an advantage (and a good foil to his flame), changes in meter and tempo grip and wow you, guitar parts fusing Blind Willie with Jimmy Page stay with you in your dreams- Plainly, this guy is just awesome.
Jack’s talent is impressive BECAUSE it amazingly melds two sides of artistry-
Raw odd shaped inspiring ideas that make him oh so unique- but it is his creative calculations, his master of his instruments, his laboratory approach to mixing potions of sound and performance that make him, well, a star in the same way as, a David Bowie I believe.
Bowie was an extremely calculated artist, which is something many fans aren’t aware of. He was a master of orchestrating his own fame, his talent, his musical legacy. Read up a bit on him, it’s quite the journey.
And White throws in for good measure an excellent grasp of what music came before him, one so apparent in his great and profound writing.
So yes, Jack White may be arrogantly deliberate, but I commend him for 1- having the balls to do it without too much regard for the critic and 2- for having more playing and writing and visionary chops that most musicians out there today.
Jack, I wish I could commit so fully to both sides of artistry, to both Heart and Will. I have tried and keep backing out: is it too hard to study and bear down or too easy to just let go? I dont know. I will however continue my strive, so thanks for being what you are, I needed a rock star I could look up to and grow from.
April 21, 2010
Many years ago, in the age of the “birth of myspace”, I swiftly took advantage of this new media outlet to vent the wild meanderings of my mind on the subject of…Bubble!
Complete with cartoon slide shows, pictures and stories mocking all the cheesiness and disingenuous qualities I associated with the Canadian crooner, www.myspace.com/itsbubbletime was a credit to my youthful and bold cleverness for sure, but also, in hindsight, to my plain ole ignorance. My page was removed by myspace for unauthorized content.
In a strange twist of fate, I found myself sitting two rows behind “Mike” as we later inebriatedly decided to name him, at this year’s JUNO award celebration.
Swooping in on a private jet, MB opened the ceremony with a glowing, joyful rendition of his big radio smooth pop hit “haven’t met you yet”, a
superbly crafted and light hearted catchy tune about holding out hope for “the one”.
Never mind the respect of thousands of screaming fans, the utterly perfect and colorful playing of the band, the stunning designer Dean Martin style suit or the winning smile and dance moves of this so-good-looking-in-person man. This guy can SING!! In an age of false musicians and showy, very lucky under-achievers, we are face to face finally with a REAL singer. Note perfect, inspired phrasing, a technically flawless performance. Not to mention enough beaming energy to light up the whole arena.
And just to prove my early twenty something self even more wrong, what a nice guy! Smiling, polite, attentive and very publicly loving of his GORGEOUS fiancée. Oh, and hilarious. Must be tough to be Michael B.
Michael, you deserve all the praise and award sweeping feat you pulled off on Sunday Night in ST John’s NFLD. My only regret is that the volcano ash flying conditions swept you off to your European tour before I had a chance to shake your hand.
Maybe next time.
P.S. Dear Justin Bieber: this is a performer you could learn a thing or two from, a lesson in talent and humility. Perhaps Usher isn’t the best role model…? though your hoards of screaming tweeny girl fans that nearly knocked me over in the hotel lobby dont seem to notice what you lack. There are two kinds of man you can grow up to be, but I guess young girls don’t yet know the difference.
I am starting to know, thanks to some friendly faces I have met this year, and though I just haven’t met you yet Mr Bubble, I find you inspiring and lovely. And your impression of Bieber at the non televised gala was awesome, too bad the Biebs missed it.
Thanks for the good times!