The Raconteurs got up close and personal at Coney Island Baby (pics, setlist, review)
Jack White, Brendan Benson, and the rest of The Raconteurs have been waging an all-out assault on NYC this weekend, having played in-stores at Rough Trade and Generation Records on Friday and Saturday afternoon, respectively, Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right on Saturday night, and they just played a very intimate show at Coney Island Baby this Sunday afternoon (6/23) to about 200 lucky fans. They’re in town promoting their great third album, Help Us Stranger, a killer rock record that also doesn’t skimp on pop hooks. Songs like “Sunday Driver,” “Help Me Stranger” and “Bored and Razed” have an easy charm and camaraderie, but there is serious songcraft and musicianship behind it, and that was apparent live, too.
Jack plays arenas these days but he and The Raconteurs seemed at home on Coney Island Baby’s small circular stage, getting up close and personal with fans, many of whom had waited in line all morning to get in. There wasn’t a lot of banter — it wasn’t till three or four songs in that Jack, wearing mirrored shades, said “I forgot to to say hi” — instead just laying down big riffs and harmonies for an hour and change. Their 14-song set pulled mainly from the new album, playing nine its 11 songs, including their cover of Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness),” plus “Level,” “Consoler of the Lonely,” “Top Yourself,” “Old Enough,” and “Steady as She Goes” which closed the three-song encore.
What I like about The Raconteurs is the collaborative nature of the group; Jack White has an endless supply of massive riffs, while Brendan Benson brings a classic pop sensibility and together it recalls ’70s groups like Badfinger or The Raspberries (by way of Thin Lizzy). Jack seemed to enjoy not being in the spotlight 100% of the time, focusing on rocking out when Brendan took lead. The crowd were clearly very familiar with the new album, singing along a lot of the time, and Benson even spun the mic around to let a guy up front sing the “I’m here right now / I’m not dead yet” closing refrain of “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying).”
While the show was intimate, they didn’t seem to be dialing anything down: The Raconteurs were really loud, you could feel it in your chest, and singles “Bored and Razed” and “Sunday Driver” sounded especially good. No doubt they’ll sound even bigger when they tour large venues this fall — like NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom and Kings Theatre — but it was a thrill getting to see them sweat. A few pictures from Coney Island Baby are in the gallery (with more on the way) and the setlist is below. UPDATE: Check out pictures from Coney Island Baby in the Gallery above, and video clips from all of The Raconteurs’ intimate NYC shows below.
SETLIST: The Raconteurs @ Coney Island Baby 6/23/2019
Consoler of the Lonely
Bored and Razed
Live a Lie
Help Me Stranger
Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)
Don’t Bother Me
Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness) (Donovan cover)
Now That You’re Gone
Steady, as She Goes
photos by P Squared