The White Stripes : San Francisco Bimbo’s 365 Club

Probably the best live band going right now - a glorious mash-up of Stooges, Stones and Kinks...

They’re like a two-man blues explosion. No, make that one man and one woman. Better yet, brother and sister. Actually, estranged husband and wife. Or something like that. Jack and Meg White are chronic liars who adhere to a strict code of wearing only red and white in public and garbling the exact nature of their relationship.

Never mind that, though. Tonight, the guitar-and-drums duo is the only band that matters in San Francisco. Playing to a sold-out room, beneath a regal Detroit flag, they swagger through stop-start blues-rock riffs, keep their heads steadfastly turned down, and create a massive racket with just four violently flailing arms and a couple of stomping feet. It’s like a peppermint-flavored kick to the chest – delivered by a pair of shoegazers possessed by Robert Plant.

The White Stripes are exactly that. But more. Over the course of the hour-or-so they are on stage they morph into the Zeps, The Stooges, The Pixies, The Buzzcocks, The Kinks, The Make-Up, the Stones, The Seeds, The MC5, the Eurhythmics, and for one song, even Dolly Parton. OK, not really the Eurhythmics. Still, it’s rare to find a band so proficient at taking other peoples’ leftovers, adding its own bit of attitude and delivering something that actually deserves to be heard by this many people.

When The White Stripes manage those minutes of glory that are distinctly their own – the rusty razor blade country of ‘Hotel Yorba’, the deadpan soft-rock tenderness of ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’ – they are the best live band going. For real.

Aidin Vaziri