Concert Review: Dead Weather, 7-13-10, 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.

by oddbodkins on July 15, 2010

JUST IN CASE THERE WAS ANY LINGERING DOUBT, THE DEAD WEATHER ARE A LOUD BAND. VERY FUCKING MUCH SO, AS A MATTER OF FACT. TWO DAYS AFTER THEY PLAYED THE 9:30 CLUB, AND HONEST TO BLACK DYNAMITE, MY EARS STILL ARE RINGING. FORTUNATELY, THEY’RE A PRETTY GOOD BAND, SO THE HOPEFULLY TEMPORARY CASE OF TINNITUS PROBABLY WAS WORTH IT.

i say “pretty good” because, quite frankly, that’s where they are. Sure, folks really are just coming to see Jack White, but he’s actually the weakest link in the group. While his drumming has improved exponentially since their last jaunt through DC, it’s obviously still not his most comfortable instrument. Whereas most percussionists keep the beat and arguably set the song’s structure, White seems more likely to play catch-up with the songs, leaving the pacing to bandmates Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence, which is fine. Alison Mosshart remains a force on-stage, though it took about half the concert before she really seemed to get into things, by that time pacing the stage like a feral cat looking to either fuck or fight her way back into the wild.

Of course, the above point about White gets thrown completely out the window when he gets out from behind his kit and picks up his axe, as he did with show closer “Will There Be Enough Water.” At this point, sadly too near the end of the show, the band exhibited a focus and energy that just seemed missing for earlier parts of the set. While the lack of a lead guitarist clearly is the direction White appears to have wanted, perfering to eschew the limelight in favor of Mosshart, it gives the band a somewhat directionless feel. With everyone nicely defering to one another, there’s no one to take the lead and put folks through their paces. i’m sounding a bit more negative than i want, as it was a good, solid performance. Again, it just wasn’t a great one.

The set list was pretty strong, jumping back and forth between Horehound and Sea of Cowards material. Oh yeah, and they did that Twilight track, too, for those of you keeping score. The crowd seemed to get more into the earlier stuff, with the largest reactions coming from “Hang You from the Heavens,” “I Cut Like a Buffalo,” and “Treat Me Like Your Mother.” Again, though, it wasn’t until the last song or two and the encore that the band seemed truly charged.

i would like to point out that the band had one of the best light shows i’ve seen at the 9:30 in quite some time. Sure, the stage was just festooned with goat heads and a large eyeball tapestry in the background, but the interplay with the lighting just worked. Well, in fact.

The Dead Weather are a gut bucket rock outfit. They dress the dress and swagger the swagger. With just a bit more seasoning, these cats just might start making the next big sound based on their talent, not just their brand name recognition.

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