RIP The White Stripes

I distinctly remember the first time I had ever heard The White Stripes. It was over 7 years ago, when I was 17 years old, and it was the summer before starting my senior year of high school.

At this point in my life, I wasn’t the music geek that I am today. I listened to whatever was on the radio, or whatever my friends listened to.

It was one of those hot and sticky summer days in Santa Clara, the kind that makes you feel like a Kirkland Signature ham, glistening with sweat instead of a sweet honey glaze. The kind where your ghetto air conditioning (aka spraying a cold water bottle into a fan) just doesn’t cut it. On those types of days, my mom and I would escape to the air conditioned confines of Valley Fair Mall.

I remember walking into Macy’s Men & Home, looking up at the television screen, and seeing this music video:

At the time, I had no idea who the band or what the song was. But I had to find out. It was so different from everything else that I listened to, but something about it resonated with me.

Later that evening, after probably Googling something like “what’s that lego video?”, I discovered that the band was called The White Stripes, and that the song was “Fell In Love With A Girl.”

A subsequent trip to Rasputin Records, and I was officially the proud owner of “White Blood Cells.” I don’t know how many times I listened to that album that summer, or since then, but it remains one of my all-time favorite albums.

Candy Cane Children

Come September, I had the chance to see The White Stripes at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. And it was only my second concert ever.

To this day, after going to hundreds of concerts, this is still one of the all-time best live performances that I have ever seen. The chemistry between Jack and Meg was electric, the songs sounded so raw and explosive, and the audience–a sea of red and white-clad people–was hanging onto every note.

I’ll never forget how The White Stripes helped set me on the path to a fantastic music scene, or how their music makes me feel.

Like many other ‘Candy Cane Children’ out there, I’m devastated to hear that they’ve split up.

But, as they say, the music lives on. Even though I’ll never see them live again, I know that I can pop in “De Stijl” or “Get Behind Me Satan” and relive those memories.

RIP, The White Stripes!

Advertisements

Good Shoes at ULU

Somehow I’ve developed a habit of taking people to their first concerts in foreign countries.

Back in San Francisco, I remember taking a Japanese friend to see Late of the Pier and The Whip. I also took a Mexican friend to see Spinto Band.

Now, in London, I took two of my classmates (Richa, from India, and Junjie, from China) to their first concert in the UK: Good Shoes, at ULU.

Music is something that can be enjoyed by anyone around the world, no matter where you come from.

It’s one of those things that spans every different type of culture. You don’t even have to understand the language to appreciate music. It’s more about the feelings that are evoked when you hear music.

Since music is such a big part of my life, I was happy to be able to share this concert experience with my new friends.

Thanks to TFL’s weekend ‘upgrades’, we had to take the long way to get to central London, and ended up missing the opening bands.

We did make it in time for Good Shoes, luckily. Good Shoes are a band that I’ve been a fan of for a number of years, but never had the chance to see them in concert.

They’re from London, and they have never toured in San Francisco. Because of this, I was especially excited to finally get to see them.

At concerts, it is not uncommon for audience members to take pictures of the band during the show. You can’t go to a concert today without seeing people pull out their digital cameras or cell phones, trying to capture every moment.

In an unusual role reversal, the lead singer of Good Shoes came out and decided to take pictures of us, the audience.

It felt weird to be on the other side of the lens, but it was nice to see that even band members enjoy capturing these moments.

A ROWDY CROWD

I don’t know if it was the median age of the crowd (perhaps 17 years old), or the amount of beer being consumed, but the audience was particularly raucous for this show.

We started out in the middle, near the stage—for the first song, anyway. Then, the moshing started.

I usually associate moshing with more hardcore punk shows, and not with a band like Good Shoes. I’d like to think that, at least for a short while, we put up a good effort to keep up with the crowd.

However, we eventually got pushed out to the side, on the outskirts of the pit.

Despite the rowdy crowd, the show was a lot of fun. The band exuded energy and excitement, and played a good mix of old and new songs.

More than anything, it was nice to be able to share this experience with my new friends.

Music is a great way to connect with people, and I hope to continue to explore and share London’s music scene with anyone who wants to take part!