Thursday, July 03, 2014

Jack White on Zane Lowe, 14-07-02 (audio file); follow up Vescovo show article

If you missed Jack White's appearance on Zane Lowe's show yesterday, it's up at the BBC site. But more importantly, it's up on YouTube, thanks to uploader Matthew and that won't age off the site (I hope). It's audio only, so there's just one nice picture to look at while it plays.

There's an interview with Jack first, and the performance is the last 45 minutes or so of this file.

Jack followed this up with a secret invite-only gig in a "contagious disease clinic" that featured a full immersive performance by the theatre group Punchdrunk.  It sounds thoroughly wonderful and I'm sorry I couldn't be there! (They did send me a consolation email with some nice pictures this morning, though.)

His record company, Third Man Records, described it this way:

Last night at midnight in Central London, Jack White played a secret show in the basement of a disused office block, to fans clad entirely in powder blue medical gowns.
The event was a collaboration between Jack and the Punchdrunk Theatre Group who had temporarily transformed the space into the Vescovo & CoClinic for contagious diseases, and had staffed this fake medical facility with dozens of their actors playing the roles of doctors, nurses and orderlies at the time of a disease outbreak. 
Drawing on the themes of Jack White's current album, 'Lazaretto', a term used to describe a quarantine island, the experience began with an elaborate online treasure hunt. A spoof medical infomercial from 1949 appeared in the archives of online medical resource The Wellcome Trust, which contained various obtuse clues that led Jack's superfans to a website belonging to the fake medical company, Vescovo & Company. Thousands of fans submitted their details to this website as part of an online screening for a contagious disease. A lucky few progressed through the screening process that lead to them receiving a telephone call from Punchdrunk actors inviting them to an out-of-hours appointment at the Vescovo Clinic. The clinic had been created for this one occasion by Punchdrunk Theatre across multiple floors of a disused building owned by The Vinyl Factory.

On arrival, fans were asked to change in to blue medical gowns before being subjected to a variety of treatments testing in a maze of medical rooms staffed by Punchdrunk actors. Chaos descended as an outbreak alarm was raised and terrified fans were herded into a smoke filled quarantine chamber. Finally a screen was dropped to reveal Jack and band in full medical uniform who proceeded to belt out a thirty minute set before Jack himself succumbed to the mysterious disease. The rock star fell to the ground in a fit of convulsions before being strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off to a waiting ambulance.

Completely missing the point personal note: I've worked with infectious disease (ID) doctors most of my working life and I've never heard them say "contagious disease" but what do I know? (Apparently it refers to diseases which are infectious on close contact - appropriate for a lazaretto, I suppose.)

He's done this kind of show in London before - Halloween at Shoreditch Church.

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