I went to see the Raconteurs. In New York. It was my annual holiday, arranged at extremely short notice and augmented by an online purchase of this random ticket. The Dublin gig had (probably) sold out straight away. The Raconteurs at the Roseland Ballroom was an obvious choice.
I flew across the Atlantic, engaged in some strange Irish American interactions, settled into my room in Washington Heights, then made contact with the few people I know over there. Monday evening rolled around. I wandered off to West 52nd Street, had a look at the venue, collected my willcall ticket, then left for the diner at the corner. The concert was sold out. People were selling or buying tickets on the street. It was a warm September evening.
Food was too large. I partially ate and left. Entered the Ballroom and stood about twenty people back. A nice (drunk) fellow from Delaware tried to get by (mentioning his girlfriend). We talked until he revealed it was a ruse for getting to the front. He went ahead with the same explanation. I followed, openly suggesting that she was "over there", and "maybe over here". We stopped about three people from the front. We made friends with a nice girl from California and another guy who's grandfather was from Laois (my father's home County in ireland). After just googling the Laois info, there's a chance he was actually from Mohill in Leitrim.
Was there a support band? Yes. They were nice fellows with jangley legs, some hats, a beard, those big Epiphone Dot-esque guitars. They played for a while. I liked them. I've tried to google them but can't find their name. Found the official Raconteurs site during my search - it's a genius site.
I chatted with California girl, slightly drunk guy, and occasionally Mr. Laois descent. The band came on after a bit. The following performance was hot to trot from the start. Sound got better after a few songs. Normally I'm quite reserved im my descriptions, but the quality of this band as a unit was extremely high. The rhythm section was some kind of evil percussion/bass device. The record, in comparison to the Roseland performance, seems almost lifeless and tame. The band I watched had a shockingly violent bass output, great drums, two vicious guitars, two brilliant vocalists, and a demonic keyboard effectivity for the riff in "Store Bought Bones". All in all it was a devastating performance, one that occasionally brought a "what the f**k, hell yeah, are they kidding?" expression to my face.
They went off after a while. Then they came back on again. The encore included "Steady, As She Goes", a track that was obvious when played, but subtly omitted up to that point. Eventually they left for good. Notable points from the concert included the memorable performance of Brendan Benson and that sonically dangerous rhythm section. I thought things might be a little Jack White heavy, but they were balanced. Mister White, for his part, did some lovely guitar solos and some very satisfying distorted-microphone vox. These details, along with many others, added to the general violence the band's performance achieved.
I left the Roseland Ballroom. The veranda's semi-bricked arches stuck in my mind . It was a nice venue. I can't remember what I did next. Maybe I went straight home. Maybe that was the night I went to the top of the Rockefeller Centre. It was brilliantly deserted with a chill wind at the top. I went back again the next day.
Left New York on saturday the thirthieth of September.
Below are some photos from 'Sup Magazine.
Actual photos by Abbey Braden.
If anyone cares I'll take them down.