Indie-rock god Jack White relishes being weird.
When he had his popular duo the White Stripes, White insisted that partner Meg White was his sister, not his actual ex-wife.
When he toured behind his debut solo album, White had two backup bands — the all-female Peacocks and the all-male Buzzards — and he apparently switched them at random.
When he starred in the 2008 documentary "It Might Get Loud" with fellow guitar heroes Jimmy Page and the Edge, White adopted a persona and stayed in character throughout the movie.
On Monday night at the instantly sold-out Armory in Minneapolis, White was suitably weird, a 6-foot-2 ghost with a Michael Jackson "Thriller" era hairdo, black polo shirt, black parachute pants and black tennis shoes. The pale-faced man in black bathed himself in blue lights.
Clearly, black and blue are the hues of White solo, whereas red, white and black were the colors of the White Stripes.
For 110 minutes on Monday, the hyper White, 43, bounded around the Armory stage with maniacal energy, finding all kinds of ways to make his guitars squeal and screech, contort and distort, rumble and roar. To complement his riveting guitar work, he sang into three microphones on the same stand — one clear, one distorted, one with special effects.
At one point, the rocker surprisingly stepped out of his weird Whiteness and became human for a few moments. In the middle of a version of the White Stripes' very catchy hit "My Doorbell," he abruptly halted the band and brought out his two children with his second ex-wife, model and singer Karen Elson.
White, who has been very private about his personal life, explained that his son, Henry Lee, would be having a birthday the next day. So Dad led 7,000 people in singing "Happy Birthday" to the soon-to-be 11-year-old. Afterward, Dad kissed his son on the forehead and put a microphone in front of the kid's face. Henry said, "Thank you."
Has anyone ever accused Jack White of being sweet in public before?
Hey, he insists he's pretty much like the rest of us Midwesterners. "Listen, Minnesota, I'm from Michigan, and we're not that different," the Detroit-reared, Nashville-based White told the crowd early in the evening. "Don't forget that."
Except he is that different. White's world is a dark place musically. And he's touring behind his most radical record, "Boarding House Reach," a polarizing and puzzling, self-consciously experimental work in which he changes musical styles in the middle of songs.
Nearly one-third of Monday's set list was devoted to selections from the new album. "Over and Over and Over" was herky-jerky funk-rock; "Humoresque" was a creepy piano ballad; and "Corporation" was anti-Trump freestyling over heavy guitar-meets-synthesizer sludge. Forgettable were the dirgy "Why Walk a Dog?" and the power ballad "Connected by Love."
"Ice Station Zebra" may have been the best of the new bunch, with its machine-gun guitar blasts, primal rhythms and eventual jazzy guitar runs paired with piano vamping.
Backed by a drummer, bassist and two keyboardists, White acknowledged his lesser known bands, with a muscular reading of the Raconteurs' "Steady, as She Goes" and Dead Weather's screamo blues "I Cut Like a Buffalo." And he threw in a cover of Beck's alt-rock classic "Devil's Haircut."
To the delight of the fans, White offered nine tunes from the White Stripes catalog, well-known ones ("Seven Nation Army," "The Hardest Button to Button") and deep tracks ("Cannon," "Little Bird").
Best of the White Stripes material were "Icky Thump" with White's vitriolic rapping over classic-rock guitar riffs and "Ball and Biscuit" with White's bluesy Robert Plant voice singing at Bob Dylan cadence before he tore into an over-the-top blues-rock guitar solo, rocking out so hard that he almost fell on his face.
For a change, he was just lost in music-making and not thinking about being weird.