(left: The Raconteurs’ explosive offense was too much for Band of Horses to handle.)
Two of the finest independent bands in the world faced off last night in the National Championship of Indie Ear Madness. The Raconteurs, who made it here by knocking off Voxtrot, Billy Bragg, The Hives, Radiohead, and Vampire Weekend, faced fellow #2 seed, Band of Horses, who made it to the finals by defeating Islands, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Against Me!, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, and The Black Keys.
Band of Horses’ game plan was to start strong, hoping to catch The Raconteurs off guard. Ben Bridwell broke out the hits early, running the point nicely on “The Funeral,” “The Great Salt Lake,” and “Ode to LRC.” In a move that left the sold out San Antonio Dome jaw-dropped, Band of Horses then brought out former Seattle Supersonics sharp-shooter Detlef Schrempf to sing on their song “Detlef Schrempf.” Though his German accent was thick, and he was a bit pitchy on parts (especially singing the hook, “When eyes can’t look at you any other way”), the former NBA star sounded surprisingly good.
(right: Detlef Schrempf performed surprisingly well on “Detlef Schrempf”)
When The Raconteurs caught wind of the Band of Horses’ cameo, they decided to bring out some guests of their own. Instead of a German basketball player, they brought out Jack White’s fellow cover boys of Rolling Stone Magazine–um–the Rolling Stones!
The Raconteurs played a cover of the Stones’ “Brown Sugar” then launched into a song that seemed to be aimed directly at their opposition, a cover of “Wild Horses.” To make matters worse for Bridwell’s squad, Meg White joined The Raconteurs on stage for a rendition of the White Stripes’ “Conquest”–another confident jab aimed at the Horses’ line-up.
Ben Bridwell seemed both agitated and confused, and began breaking out songs from his former band, Carissa’s Weird. Late in the contest Band of Horses threw up some beautiful renditions of “Islands on the Coast”, “St. Augustine”, and “Our Swords”, but by that time it was too late.
Big Jack, Little Jack, Brendan, and Patrick come from Big-10 country, and they proved it tonight, answering Band of Horses with precision tight performances of “Store Bought Bones” and “Five on the Five”. The Raconteurs celebrated their National Championship by cutting down the nets and encoring with “Steady as She Goes“–with special guest vocals by country legend Loretta Lynn.
Jack White was voted as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.