Music Review: Jack White - Empress Ballroom

Jack White
Jack White
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Sometimes when you head to a concert you see a band just going through the motions.

That is an accusation which could never be levelled at former White Stripes frontman Jack White.

He is a showman and for those lucky enough to get tickets to last night’s gig at the Empress Ballroom (it sold out in minutes as one of only a handful of UK dates) that is exactly what they got.

Support act and White label-mate Willy Moon warmed up the crowd nicely and received a healthy cheer when he departed the stage following an energetic set featuring single Yeah Yeah, currently featuring on the latest Apple iPod advert.

But as soon as wirey guitar maestro White stepped out onto the stage, dressed entirely in black but for white shoes and braces, and began wrestling crunching chords from his electric guitar the crowd knew they were in for a special night.

Clever lighting threw a huge black silhouette of White onto the back of the stage as he began the set with an early strong performance of Missing Pieces from debut solo record Blunderbuss.

The Empress’ dramatic interior is made for performers like White who even used the venue’s ancient chandeliers as part of the light show during White Blood Cells favourite We’re Going to Be Friends late in the set.

But the biggest cheers of the night came, perhaps unsurprisingly, for White Strips hits The Hardest Button to Button and Seven Nation Army.

Between the two epic numbers White threw in a cover of country legend Hank Williams’s You Know That I Know, showing his massive versatility with the song he recorded for a tribute album to the late performer last year.

After a storming encore White and his all female band left the stage with the frontman telling the crowd: “See you later Blackpool – who knows when.”

On this showing let’s hope it’s soon.