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See Jack White’s Battle of the Sexes on ‘Saturday Night Live’

All bets are now officially off when it comes to the style of Jack White’s solo album, Blunderbuss, which drops on April 24 via Third Man/Columbia. The stringy-haired White Stripes frontman performed two songs on Saturday Night Live this weekend, each backed by separate single-gender bands, and each representing a different facet of White’s sound. Although the SNL stage has cast a few artists in an unflattering light in recent years, White obliterated any possible technical issues through sheer force of performance.

When White unveiled groovy new song “Love Interruption” on January 30, the unexpectedly laid-back tune suggested his solo album might, in keeping with his proper-name billing, be a relatively gentle, singer-songwriter type of record. On SNL, he performed the bluesy, acoustic-driven song with an all-female backing band, including a drummer, whose riotous clamor helped take the music in a new, more rocking direction. “I want love to change my friends to enemies,” White howls in the clip above; what once was a cuddly song is now a stalking, ferocious beast.

Further evidence White’s mellowness might’ve been a fake-out came in the form of another new Blunderbuss song. Making its debut on SNL, “Sixteen Saltines” is a scorching, breakneck garage-rocker, harking back to the earliest White Stripes material (also, do we detect a little “Purple Haze” in that main riff?). This time White played with an all-male backing band; it’s hard to pick out lyrics from the clip above, but it’s easy to get the point: White still rocks. Explosively.

The Lindsay Lohan-hosted episode also featured a bit about Kid Rock endorsing Mitt Romney in the cold open (the Michigan badass barked, “We’re both from Detroit, we’ve both got hep C, and we’ve both got a license to rock” to which Republican contender responds, “I assume the C stands for calcium”), and a similar joke in Weekend Update where Seth Meyers remarked, “Now he just has to focus on locking up the Juggalo vote.” Cue photo of Romney in Violent J makeup. And while we doubt White contributed any licks to this week’s digital short, “Afros,” the clip’s soundtrack sure sounds Stripes-y: