White Stripes at USF

Are they sister, brother, lover or any other? Whatever the relationship between Jack and Meg White may be, it’s simply a footnote in the White Stripes’ musical dissertation of rock ‘n’ blues revival.

The Stripes play at the Sun Dome on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., along with eclectic noise rockers Whirlwind Heat.

Since they have come onto the scene, the Whites have had to battle constant speculation about the official status of their relationship. And while most think the pair are divorcees rather than siblings, the mystique behind the charade only adds fuel to the band’s bright-shining star; that, and the oddly endearing practice of perpetually sporting complementary peppermint-colored outfits.

Of course, no one would have even cared had it not been for the fact that the Stripes have put the freshest, grittiest spin on blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll this side of Led Zeppelin.

This dynamic Detroitian duo is touring on the heels of its recently released fourth LP, Elephant. Although the album has been widely hailed by Rolling Stone (not to mention various other music publications) as one of the best so far this century, it was the band’s previous record, White Blood Cells, which put them in the center of rock music’s radar.

The two albums may differ a bit musically, but the main similarity lies in the energetic and feverish emotion in the musical delivery. White Blood Cells howls like the violent indignities of youth, whereas its newer counterpart, Elephant, is rock ‘n’ roll articulation and a neo-bluesy lullaby.

Four great records, however, could be the extent of this wonderful band’s catalog. The Stripes have hinted this may be the last album (and tour) for the band; especially for Jack, who is making quite the name for himself in the industry as a talented producer.

The Stripes’ live performance, on par with frequent touring chums The Strokes, is an emotionally charged musical experience so good that it is actually worthy of the $30-ticket. That is something that doesn’t hold true for many bands these days. Onstage, Jack shreds and strums bluesy guitar-rock highlighted by his soulful vocals and Meg’s brutally beautiful drum pummeling.

Tampa, especially the Sun Dome, rarely plays host to bands (for our generation) with such a mixture of stature and quality. The White Stripes could quite possibly go down as one of the best bands of this early century, and they are, for all intensive purposes, playing in the backyard. This band has reminded the world what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Now the Stripes want to show you too, Tampa.