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Concert Reviews:
Raconteurs rock with home town pride at Masonic tour opener
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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DETROIT -- There was indeed no place like home for the Raconteurs on Friday night, June 12, as the Detroit-formed, now Nashville-based group opened its first North American tour in 11 years at the Masonic Temple Theatre.

Cheered on by a sold-out crowd filled with plenty of family and friends, the quintet delivered a Motor City-centric show from the home town reference ("I'm Detroit born and raised") in the opening "Bored and Razed" to Jack White's encore command to "give up the suburbs and move into the city of Detroit and take this mother... over!" White made a few references to the Raconteurs' start at fellow frontman Brendan Benson's attic on E. Grand Blvd. and shouted out to hometown heroes in the crowd, including White Stripes bandmate (and ex-wife) Meg White and Detroit Tigers broadcaster Kirk Gibson.

The group also brought Detroit Cobras' guitarist Mary Ramirez onstage for a lusty rendition of Donovan's "Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)" that closed the first half of the show.

All of that gave a bit of extra juice to a high-octane 90-minute show already well-fueled by partisan support, the momentum of a No. 1 new album ("Help Us Stranger") and a busy week at home that included White's acoustic birthday show with Benson on Tuesday, July 9, at Third Man Records Cass Corridor and an all-star benefit baseball game on Thursday, July 11, at Hamtramck Stadium. Following spirited sets by two gospel-soul vocal groups, the Raconteurs certainly hit the pedal hard for the get go, sprinting on stage as a characteristically manic White milked the ovation before the group -- whose longtime auxiliary player Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age also hails from Royal Oak -- tore into a breathless opening of "Bored and Razed," "Level" and a gritty "Don't Bother Me."

While tight and efficient on record, the Raconteurs often used their stage time Friday to stretch, expand and improvise -- spotlighting plenty of White's histrionic guitar solos, of course, while battling a muddy sound mix much of the night (though it improved as the show went on). White switched between guitar and keyboards during a lengthy "Top Yourself," while second-half/encore selections such as "Consoler of the Lonely," the bluesy "Now That You're Gone," "Hands," "Sunday Driver" and "Blue Veins" were attacked with a communal devil-may-care exuberance. "Live a Lie" channeled vintage, late 60s Detroit-style punk, and Benson-fronted songs such as "Old Enough" and the new "Somedays (I Don't Feel Like Trying)" presented a Laurel Canyon-styled folk rock vibe that softened the set. Slightly.

The show ended with the Raconteurs' biggest hit, "Steady, As She Goes" -- also extended with instrumental vamps and a call-and-response singalong between a grinning White and the Masonic crowd. It was clear the group couldn't have been happier than to be at home, and the feeling was undeniably mutual.

Some tickets still remain for the Raconteurs' Saturday, July 13, show at the Masonic. $45-$79.50. 313-638-2724 or themasonic.com.

Web Site: www.themasonic.com

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