REVIEW BY Sam Brooke
Jack White, even in his forties, remains one of rock’s most unpredictable stars, a kind of Willy Wonka figure with his pastel-white face streaked with mop-like hair. His show at the Brighton Centre last night certainly upheld his reputation, mixing old White Stripes classics with new experimental material from his latest album, Boarding House Reach to create a beautifully messy gig.
Warmed up by local boys Demob Happy, White kicked off with his neck-busting 2018 single Over And Over And Over - a statement of intent. It was a strong opener, maybe too strong, since things mellowed out a bit after then.
Then again, with such a huge back catalogue of songs, White can afford to be liberal with his setlist choices. He certainly knows how to work a crowd: within minutes everybody was jumping, and no doubt most of them will have woken up with neckache.
What's more remarkable is White's ability to transition between genres without it feeling grinding. Switching from the hard rock blues of Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground to Humoresque, a slow ballad written by Al Capone and purchased by White at an auction, didn't seem to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm.
It was in these transitional moments that White's backing band really bared their teeth. Talented drummer Carla Azar’s solos seemed superhuman at points, while Neal Evans and Quincy McCrary on the keyboards added experimental touches to old classics, as well as laying down the foundation for White's new tracks.
It would be hard to show up the big man himself, though, and ultimately it was White deservedly taking centre-stage. Whether crooning or screeching, strumming or seemingly battling with his guitar (quite a few strings ended up broken) the energy that the man took to the Brighton Centre was admirable. The Nashville native is by no means an old dog, but he certainly showed his array of new tricks last night.