After a one week hiatus, Saturday Night Live returned on March 3 with their most fascinating host/musical guest combination of the season (sorry Alec Baldwin and Radiohead). The hosting duties went to Lindsay Lohan while the musical guest distinction went to the suddenly solo, Jack White. Lindsay Lohan and Jack White. How much crazy can you pack into ninety minutes? While the reviews of Lohan have been less than flattering, I don’t think anyone can deny what White put on display late Saturday night. Let’s review…
One of the main reasons I was drawn to the ongoing review of SNL’s musical guests was because I wanted to see what certain artists did to inflict their sound into the unfriendly studio. The exposure is tremendous, but those brutal acoustics have to be a daunting challenge. White does his best to offer his own unique aesthetic on the performance by being accompanied by an all female band for his first song. Although the lyrics can be a little heavy (“I want love… to stick a knife inside me and twist it all around”), I give the performance my stamp of approval. It has a more of a folksy sound than a hard rock ballad so the inability of the studio to reverberate heavy beats doesn’t hold the song back at all. White and his backup singer deliver their lines with ease and survive the first of two outings.
The stage is completely transformed from the last time we saw them. The soft pink lighting display has given way to a dramatic dark blue look and all of his female accompaniments have been replaced by men. As far as I can tell, this is the first official playing of this particular track, so I have no frame of reference. I know it certainly sounds like your vintage White Stripes song; heavy power chord hooks followed by a beat or two of silence and Jack whaling on vocals. I have no idea what he is saying as he sounds just a tad out of breath. I catch “sixteen saltines” at some point but everything else is simply conjecture. I will say he’s certainly creating a damn interesting sound on that guitar. I don’t even know how to describe it let alone tell you how he’s producing it live. Touche, Jack.
This was a treat. I would definitely go ahead and say that this was my favorite musical guest of the season (apologies to the Black Keys). I cannot wait for this album to come out. Seven short weeks and counting. I’m definitely coming back next Saturday for the return of The Shins since they’re like the greatest band ever. (Get it?)