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Thursday, May 30, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Adding a little black to the red and white

Grade: B

Inuit elders, uncooked caribou and bowling… oh, my.
Under Great White Northern Lights follows The White Stripes as they hit the road for an extensive tour of Canada in 2007 – a country that had been surprisingly difficult for the band to play throughout the duo's career.
To make up for lost time, the group has made it its mission to play a show in every province and territory in Canada, so all the Canadian fans can have a chance to see The White Stripes.
Before The White Stripes took the stage in each of the small cities on the tour, Jack and Meg White performed in a random spot in the city for free, ranging anywhere from a bowling alley to the back of a fisherman's vessel.
Emmett Malloy helmed the lens on the long trek through the great white north. Malloy does an amazing job combining the footage from the live performances and the dialogue from the interviews.
The best parts of Under Great White Northern Lights are the intervals of the band on stage. It comes as no shock that The White Stripes puts on one of the best live shows, and Malloy captures it in the most candid of ways.
While the band jammed out, Malloy was able to get up close and personal, but the twosome did not even seem to notice him.
This is a result of Malloy getting a lot of frames from backstage, gathering shots from behind the band as well as the front and the sides.
With no cameras being shoved in their faces, the band was able to worry more about the fans and keeping it unique each and every night.
The White Stripes do not have a fixed set list in order to give each show a one-of-a-kind experience. Because of Malloy's voyeurism, The White Stripes did not feel the pressure of being filmed.
Malloy did an excellent job during the filming of the shows to incorporate red, white, and black, the only colors to have ever been on a White Stripes album, into his shots. The events were shot in color, but also in black and white to contrast the band's bright red color scheme.
The grainy video quality of the concerts is a great complement to the raw sound fans have come to associate with the band.
Throughout their time on stage, The White Stripes demonstrate the ability that has enabled them to keep playing for 10 years and put out six well-received albums.
Jack White shows that he is a master of his craft as he shreds the axe harder than any other guitarist. Not only does Jack play the only guitar in the band, he also plays piano and even, for certain songs, the mandolin.
His brilliance as a musician shines through as he performs face-melting guitar solos and delivers near-perfect vocals on almost every song.
Not only does Malloy do a fantastic job capturing their live show, he engagingly documents Meg and Jack White interacting with the indigenous people of the great white north.
The time spent watching the band interact with the locals brings the very private life of The White Stripes to light. Everywhere that the Whites went on the tour, the communities embraced them and got to see a softer side of the duo.
As usual Jack does most of the talking for the band throughout the film, since Meg is a very quiet gal. Even in interviews with the band, Jack does 90 percent of the talking.
The final scene of the film can make anyone tear up. As Jack performs the ambiguous "White Moon," his reasons for writing the song become a little clearer.
Under Great White Northern Lights does a great job portraying both the pure enjoyment The White Stripes got from giving back to fans that have been difficult to see and the musical capabilities of one of the best bands of this generation.
Fans of the band can catch a free screening of Under Great White Northern Lights in the Student Union Theater on Thursday, March 25 at 7:15 P.M




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