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Volume 68, Issue 152, Monday, June 30, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Stripes slap crowd with crisp sounds

By Jason Gagnon
The Daily Cougar

The last time the White Stripes came to Houston they were beginning to break into the mainstream with their album White Blood Cells. They ended up selling out tiny Rudyard's, and with an eager crowd hoping to snag a spot inside. The group returned Tuesday, this time playing at the Verizon Wireless Theatre, and once again selling out the venue.

There was an extremely diverse crowd that included aging hipsters, yuppies, punk rockers, alterna-teens and plenty of kids in red and white outfits. They all shuffled through the lobby buying overpriced drinks and checking out the insanely overpriced merchandise which wasn't that cool. There is nothing rock 'n' roll about paying $30 for a shirt. Yet, I'm sure Jack and Meg White made a killing that night.

Meg and Jack White of The White Stripes played a flawless show to a sold out Verizon Wireless Theatre crowd on Tuesday.
Patrick Pantano/Girlie Action

Whirlwind Heat opened up the show probably because Jack produced their album. The band featured three kids that looked like the epitome of emo-rockers with their shaggy hair, tight shirts and flailing arm dance. 

The band had a good rhythm section that blasted out mostly mid-tempo beats and a singer with an annoying screech that just made weird noises with a keyboard and effects pedals.

These guys were trying way to hard to tell the audience, "Hey! We're quirky and different!" Great. When Sonic Youth makes unimaginable noises with their guitars it's cool. When some geek does it with electronics it's not quite as impressive or pleasant. Give these guys first class tickets to the Pretentious Express.

After some Betty Boop cartoons that were much more entertaining than the opener, the White Stripes came out and blew the crowd away.

Over a wail of feedback the duo eased into "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" to the crowds delight. Jack's voice sounded as crisp as it does on album and the sound was great. It was as if the sound guy just put in a mix of the bands songs into the p.a. From there it was a stellar set that drew heavily from White Blood Cells and Elephant.

The audience went insane when Jack switched guitars and played the opening notes of "Seven Nation Army." The men and women were delighted to see Meg rise from behind her drum kit to sing "In the Cold, Cold Night."

Long time fans were pleased with a few selections off of De Stijl and the group's Sympathy For the Record Industry debut. "Hello Operator" received many cheers from the diehard fans.

But the highlights of the night came when the band played their cover of Blind Willie McTell's beautiful ode to spousal abuse "Your Southern Can is Mine" and their brilliant rendition of Dolly Parton's "Jolene."

White Stripes

Verizon Wireless Theatre

The verdict: Despite the lame opening band, the White Stripes put on a great show that spanned all their albums.

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