The White Stripes, Vienna Gasometer, 4 June 2007

Went to see The White Stripes last night at the Gasometer. This must have been the biggest concert I’ve been to since coming to Vienna. It held no great interest for me, but it’s hard to say why. Music as resolutely orthodox as this seems almost impervious to criticism. Whatever I say (it’s too loud, too ugly, too garagey, too lumpen), back comes the reply: “but that’s the whole point, you idiot.”

The thing is, of course, I like all those qualities in some respects. I like Swans, and they’re loud. I like Whitehouse, and they’re ugly. I like Spiritualized, and they’re garagey. I even like Led Zeppelin, and they’re lumpen (the White Stripes sounded, to my novice ears, exactly like a stripped down Zeppelin). But put those qualities together in the White Stripes and the result is sheer tedium.

There was, admittedly, much to admire in the frontman’s guitar work. But ultimately I was irritated by his relentlessly screechy, one-trick voice and by the drummer’s smugly indiscriminate flailing behind her kit. Enough.

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