You gotta love the Raconteurs: Big, bright lights, rock star riffs, and two lead singers for the price of one.
Jack White's other band blew into St. Louis, bringing their bluesy, foot-stomping sound to the Pageant in a powerhouse performance that had the crowd roaring from the opening to the encore.
Quick to dismiss their status as a supergroup, the four-piece instead has simply referred to themselves as “a new band made up of old friends,” a statement that is immediately evident in their synergy on stage.
Jack White and Brendan Benson, who trade off duties for lead vocals and guitar, in particular showed a great camaraderie on stage, grinning, facing off for guitar duels, trading licks on stage throughout the night.
This show was a blessing and a curse.
The bad news: the Pageant's 5-foot stage, huge speaker monitors, and a setup about a meter back from the edge of the stage, all of which limited clear sight lines to the band.
The good news: great lights, rock star swagger, and an infectious energy, both on stage and in the crowd.
In the end, I think the good won out, but it was an uphill struggle. Or, to rephrase that, a nice challenge.
The band ripped through the first three songs of this set with the same driving intensity that carried through their performance, so the shoot felt quite short. No break between the first two songs kept up the pace as well.
Another interesting challenge was where to point the lens – celebrity or the lead singer? For most of the first three songs, the latter meant Brendan Benson, who played near the front of the stage, tethered by his duties on vocals, while Jack White played farther back, often out obscured by the band's immense monitors.
Spotlights. At a rock show. This in itself was pretty fantastic, I have to say.
Overall, the set was very well lit, with lots of white light from the front and simple treatments in the background. Warm lighting on the stage cast an orange glow over the players during the first few songs as well.
Lenses & Gear:
Due to the fairly removed position of the band, the telephoto was used a good deal to help close the distance, while the midrange zoom was useful for wider shots, and one moment where Benson came to the perch on the speaker monitors during the second song.
Exposure & Metering:
I shot this set at f/2.8 and ISO 1600, with shutter speeds ranging between 1/100 and 1/250. Despite the use of two spotlights, the lights were often split between Jack White and Brendan Benson, so neither received the double-barreled treatment that has kept up shutter speeds to 1/500 for other shows with a single star.
The Raconteurs were a blast to shoot, and now I'm itching to photograph the White Stripes. While Meg and Jack White may not be touring at the moment, photographing the Raconteurs again at Lollapalooza would be a fine consolation.