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Jack White on 'SNL': The yin and yang of a rock star

Jack White on Saturday Night Live

Well, that was a lot to digest, Jack White's two-song performance as musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."

If it wasn't his stunning black-and-white suit, it was the all-female six-piece band that backed him on "Love Interruption," the first song that he played, so tight that you hope and pray that this will be his touring band (and that he'll start a post-White Stripes duo project with Autolux drummer Carla Azar, whose phenomenal kit work was something to behold).

The performance illustrated why White is a man among boys in the world of rock music, assured in his own voice, in his entire aesthetic, dedicated to creating rock 'n' roll with (beautiful) guitars, bass, drum and whatever else strikes his fancy. 

And if it wasn't that first song, an urgent love ditty, it was the follow-up/shut-up explosion, "Sixteen Saltines," a classic White rocker with a monster riff, booming drum-and-organ call-and-response, a floorful of guitar effects pedals, a weird psychedelic bridge and the kind of rock urgency that in 2012 few if any others can deliver. The song featured an entirely different band, with instrumentation including violin and mandolin -- though they were easily buried beneath White's guitar tantrum.

Both songs are taken from his forthcoming solo album "Blunderbuss," which comes out April 24 through his Third Man Records imprint.

Watch White's "Love Interruption" performance:

Watch "Sixteen Saltines":

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-- Randall Roberts

Photo: Jack White. Credit: Hulu / NBC

 
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