Jack White and Third Man Records

Jack White:  An American in London

Third Man Records and Jack White Concert Reviews:  29 June 2022

There are three simple truths about Jack White:  he rocks just as hard in the UK as he does in the U.S., he’s a marketing genius, and his stores are proverbial rabbit holes of to-be-coveted merch, music history, and a staff of truly delightful people.

Jack White in London

Upon our entering the store, early on a Thursday in late June, the staff looked up, smiled, said “Welcome,” and politely went back to whatever they were doing.  Like his Nashville and Detroit stores, the record and merch shop is full of bold colours and a variety of clever Third Man logos on t-shirts, jumpers (Americans call these sweaters), and canvas bags.  There was even a baked beans pin and a Marmite-inspired magnet.  These are going home with us.  We also bought a rain slicker (when in Rome), and a few knick-knacks.  

Jack White - Third Man Records

We spoke to all of the staff, who were polite and friendly, as is the British way.  Some were from Nashville and some from Detroit, and they had come here to help get the store up and running.  With frequent new merchandise, tours, and, of course, those coveted posters, the store constantly has new collectables and memorabilia moving through its doors.

Our purchases earned us some extra tickets to the show we were attending Tuesday night, so we promptly gave them to our mates (Americans call these friends) with whom we were staying.  They’d not seen Jack White or any of his music projects at a gig before (Americans call these concerts), and they loved it.

The venue, The Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, is an excellent theatre with good acoustics, several bars, and comfortable seats.  It accommodates over 3000 people, and last night about half of those were moshing on the floor and even crowd surfing to White’s metallic blues riffs.  There were subtle nuances throughout the show such as blue tones in the house and exquisite stage lighting and projections. 

Jack White

As with all of White’s shows, patrons are asked to put their phones into a locked pouch during the gig, which creates a truly electric atmosphere in which no one is taking videos they’ll never watch again or posting brag pics to Facebook.  There are phone sections much as there are smoking sections where addicts can check their phones to find a friend or snap an obligatory marquee photo.  

Due to London noise laws, White could only play until about 11 p.m.  The gig ended at 10:59. The set list started with “Taking me Back” and ended with “Ball and Biscuit” with no chatting or pleasantries between songs.  White seemed to know he had limited stage time and meant to make the most of every second.  He gave a generous encore of about half a dozen songs including “We’re Gonna Be Friends” and “Seven Nation Army.”

As always, the show was a loud, modern but classic rock at its finest.  White’s music is solid, hard rock and roll with bluesy chords, piercing electric guitar, fierce rhythm, and soulful keys.  Every song makes you think this is probably what kids felt the first time they heard “Revolution” in the late sixties.  With front-man Jack White at the helm, every element of the atmosphere was immaculately executed. The whole tour is a well-oiled machine.  We can’t wait to see it again.