THE WHITE STRIPES; UNDER GREAT WHITE NORTHERN LIGHTS (XL CD/DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

The White Stripes: Ball and Biscuit
THE WHITE STRIPES; UNDER GREAT WHITE NORTHERN LIGHTS (XL CD/DVD)

Since this 2007 doco was filmed of the White Stripes tour across Canada (with interesting digressions of shows done on the fly), Jack White has peeled off into other areas of interest: Dead Weather, Raconteurs, the movie It Might Get Loud, more production (tantalisingly with early rocker Wanda Jackson) . . .

Drummer Meg -- his former wife whom he here again refers to as his sister, keeping that mystique going -- has been much more quiet . . . and in fact her "quiet" nature becomes a briefly tetchy point in an interesting incident in Emmett Malloy's footage.

But given that Jack and Meg approved all this, that incident and the tears later may not be quite as revealing as they first appear.

But as a tour doco goes this is certainly closer to Wilco's Ashes of American Flags than Madonna's dishonest Truth or Dare, although the slipping between stage, back-stage, interviews and travelling through Canada's vast landscape can be frustratingly focus-shifting.

It is beautifully shot (sometimes in crisp b'n'white) and its best moments include the noisy shows but also a digression to an Inuit community where they swap songs with the locals. It is at its most up-close and interesting when they play for some kids in a rec centre, in a bowling alley, on the back of a boat, in a bus, in a local hall . . .

When the volume goes down -- and Meg speaks so low she gets subtitles -- the interest goes up and in these too-brief situations they come off as charming, curious about where they are and Meg reveals a rare ability, she seems to be able to smoke and sleep simultaneously. She remains inscrutable. 

The accompanying CD is collated from these shows and is something of a rowdy greatest hits set which opens with them coming on stage to the sound of a bagpipe troupe then unleashing the full Led Zepp fury of power chords and Plant-like yelp on Let's Shake Hands before ticking off highlights and ending with the riffery of Seven Nation Army -- as sung back to the band by the audience.

It is a long overdue live album by this duo which delivers fury and sensitivity ( We Are Gonna be Friends) in equal measure. Pity more of the folk and blues songs from the DVD didn't make it onto it.

Given Jack's other interests it may just be that this document -- which comes in an expanded version with an LP, a single and a 200 page booklet of photos for the real fans -- is a full stop on the White Stripes.

My money says it isn't however, it is just another milestone along the way of a very interesting journey. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

OPEN RANGE and THE ALAMO (DVD): The return of the real Westerns?

OPEN RANGE and THE ALAMO (DVD): The return of the real Westerns?

Recently the Kevin Costner movie Dragonfly from 2002 turned up on television. You'd probably never heard of it. I hadn't. It's hard to believe that after Dances with Wolves of 1990 and the... > Read more

PHILIP DADSON: SONICS FROM SCRATCH, a doco by SIMON OGSTON and ORLANDO STEWART

PHILIP DADSON: SONICS FROM SCRATCH, a doco by SIMON OGSTON and ORLANDO STEWART

Even if Philip Dadson's name is not as well known as it should be outside of academic and sonic art music areas, many New Zealanders would respond to just two words: From Scratch. The... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

VENICE: PURE CITY by PETER ACKROYD (2010)

VENICE: PURE CITY by PETER ACKROYD (2010)

If you had been in Venice last year and gone to see the elegant Bridge of Sighs you would have had an unpleasant surprise. This passage between the Doge’s palace and the prison -- those taken... > Read more

HELLO GIRLS AND BOYS! A NEW ZEALAND TOY STORY by DAVID VEART

HELLO GIRLS AND BOYS! A NEW ZEALAND TOY STORY by DAVID VEART

This Wednesday at Art+Object in Auckland there is an auction of vintage toys. These aren't Star Trek collectibles still in their plastic wrappers, but much loved and played-with toys from the... > Read more