The Raconteurs, or The Saboteurs for the Australian crowd, came on to the music scene late 2005 not only with full force (e.g. a tour with Bob Dylan didn’t hurt) but with some backbone, too. After their debut single and alleged “seed”, “Steady As She Goes”, hit radio waves nationwide, mesmerized millions, who were longing for some old garage blues, found recluse with indie hero Jack White’s accompanying trio of Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler. Years later, one can only agree that this band has “some” essence.
History aside, I find it hard to believe that out of all the singles which drooled from their debut album Broken Boy Soldiers (“Store Bought Bones” “Broken Boy Soldier” and of course “Steady As She Goes”), my all time favorite “Level” was nearly forgotten. Granted, “Level” is found towards the tail end of the album, but then again, so is “Store Bought Bones” — in fact, it’s even further! However, for reasons unknown, Jack White and co. saved the bluesy track for a late, late single release. That’s okay though, because they sure as hell brought it out on the stage.
The reason why I’m blowing a load on this one song is that, I feel, it really shows off each member equally and at good pace. Benson kicks it all off, coming in at the beginning of the song with his ever so catchy yet constructive guitar line, which walks about over White’s scratchy yet offset voice. The two synchronize perfectly with the handsome undertone of Brendan’s lyrical clarity. Meanwhile, Keeler’s hard hitting and well reserved percussion moves alongside Lawrence’s bass line, which is both calm and thorough.
What upsets me the most is how White, regardless of the band, manages to always steal the spotlight. However, when the band shines and overcomes this unintentional endowment, it’s pure gold. That’s something you see here in this live recording of “Level”. It’ll be interesting to see if moments like this occur with the next White-involved project, this summer’s The Dead Weather.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this flavorful stem that was otherwise lost in the grapevine of YouTube.