Saturday, May 26, 2018
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DVD Snippets: Raconteurs 'Live at Montreaux'

Jack White changes bands and musical approaches so often that from a marketing perspective he essentially laps himself.

He's been touring to promote his new solo album, "Blunderbuss" at the same time a most-excellent DVD artifact from his time with the Raconteurs hits the market. Live at Montreux 2008 captures a juiced up band cranking 16 volatile rockers with a feverish intensity.

When it's finished, the overwhelming reaction is: So, when can I see these guys? And the answer is: Possibly never.

Like Neil Young, White's a restless creative spirit as he dips in and out of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, various production and sideman gigs, and his solo career. The result is wonder at how prolific the guy is musically and mild frustration that he doesn't zero in on one thing and stick with it.

The paradox, of course, is that if, like me, you find the White Stripes intriguing but unsatisfying, you're not stuck with them because he moves on to other things like the Raconteurs, which has released two albums since 2006.

On Live at Montreux -- recorded at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland -- White, Brendan Benson (who shares lead vocals and guitar duties), Jack Lawrence, Patrick Keeler, and Mark Watrous deliver a white hot set that starts out smoldering with "Consoler Of The Lonely" and eventually explodes with combustible rockers such as "Hold Up," "Broken Boy Drama," and the face-melting "Keep It Clean."

The Raconteurs really are a band, not just a vehicle for White, and their music hits below the belt in the best way possible with massive rhythm guitar work, an air-tight rhythm section, and a pair of vocalists who trade off on the singing duties. The digital surround sound on the DVD is pristine and the louder you play it, the better it sounds.

The camera work on Live at Montreux is exceptional with close-up shots of the kick drum pounding out the beat to "Broken Boy Soldier" or Benson's hands as he plays guitar and just enough panning from musician to musician to convey action without becoming a distraction.

SRP: $19-98 Blu-ray; $14.99 DVD.

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