Music review: Jack White, Usher Hall, Edinburgh

There are no half measures with Jack White, who exercised his performer's prerogative to ensure that his audience were fully in the moment with him and his band. No more polite requests that fans desist from filming the show on their phones '“ all devices were secured inside a foam cover which could only be unsealed on exiting the venue.

Jack White PIC: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Jack White PIC: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Jack White, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****

Unusual housekeeping out the way, it was time for the punk vaudeville to begin. White has presented his turbo-charged take on the blues in several set-ups over the years – with his ex-wife Meg in The White Stripes, with alternating all-male and all-female bands and now with a crack team of four musicians, including two – count ’em – keyboard/synth whizzes.

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Carla Azar, his drummer of choice, was on incendiary form under the deep blue lights, sparking the feral energy which fuelled a two-hour free-ranging punk blues jam, knocking out tracks from across White’s two-decade catalogue of audacity.

In keeping with the wild, eclectic romp of current album Boarding House Reach, spirit beat songcraft, at least until they broke out a pounding saloon bar take on The White Stripes’ Hotel Yorba and a stormy Love Interruption.

The fab five were briefly joined by support act Demob Happy for The Dead Weather’s choppy I Cut Like A Buffalo, White threw himself on the mercy of the crowd and the band went hell-for-leather in ushering him back on stage for a lengthy encore which was more thrilling and fulfilling than most bands’ best sets. - FIONA SHEPHERD