In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music ...
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In 2007 the legendary American duo White Stripes toured Canada. Besides playing the usual venues they challenged themselves and played in buses, cafés and for Indian tribal elders. Music video director Emmett Malloy followed the band and managed to capture both the special tour, extraordinary concert versions of the band's minimalist, raw, blues-inspired rock songs and the special relationship between the extroverted Jack White and the introspective Meg White - a formerly married couple who for a long time claimed to be siblings. The film makes striking use of the band's concert colors: red, white and black. Written by
Göteborg International Film Festival
all you need to know, or would want to know, about the White Stripes, with MUSIC!
In 2007, to support their new album Icky Thump and to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Jack and Meg White took to Canada to tour. Under the Great Northern Lights is superb because it doesn't take the usual approach that documentaries following a band on-the-road do. But then again the White Stripes aren't the 'usual' rock band. It's just a guitarist/piano player and a drummer, maybe a guy playing bagpipes occasionally, and there's patterns in the songs with the number 3 and colors black and red. One of the members (Jack) does the majority of the talking (Meg even needs subtitles at points to be understood on camera, a point Jack makes fun of at one point on camera), and their 'tour' is both the traditional concert-venue variety and a more spontaneous form of performing on buses, in bowling alleys, in parks, just anywhere. I'm surprised they didn't perform in a bathroom.
It's an amazing concert movie for reasons of unpredictability, but also for the interesting places they go to along the way (they meet up with a tribe of Indians and play some of their music), and just the personalities of the White Stripes on screen. They have a strange appeal; they're not totally hard rocking like grunge, but they're not as 'soft' as an emo band. They employ hard rock, and folk, and punk, and some music that is just unidentifiable except as White Stripes songs (you'll know them when you hear them, one of them is arguably the title track of Icky Thump). The collection of songs is fantastic to see played live, with some turns unexpected with an innocence to them (they perform "Wheels on the Bus Go Round & Round"!), and it's all off the cuff; according to Jack they don't have a set list and it flows much more naturally from that approach.
And, on top of the content being so strong and inviting, the way the film is shot and how the director stages the White Stripes is engaging. It's black and white film for 85% of the time (other 15% is color, but only for some performances on stage), and it's like getting an old-time portrait of musicians on the road or something. It's strange to pinpoint, but it's such a strange way to make a concert movie anyway. It has the conventional structure, but the way its shot and edited is captivating. I didn't want it to end really. I was curious about their music before, and liked some songs especially. Under the Great Northern Lights has made me a fan.
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