The Dead Weather: Live Last Night
By Mark Jenkins
Jack White's latest band, the Dead Weather, isn't Jack White's band -- at least not the way the White Stripes are. When the quartet made its D.C. debut Monday night at a sold-out 9:30 Club, the singer-guitarist stayed behind the drum kit for all but one song, while Alison Mosshart (also of the Kills) handled most of the lead vocals.
Yet the show provided much evidence of White's vision, from the two-tone lighting scheme (blue and white) to the style of minimalist blues-rock. Instrumentally, the band resembled the White Stripes, only with a thicker, more epic sound that relied on keyboards almost as much as guitar. Both were played by Dean Fertita (also of Queens of the Stone Age); he was supplemented on guitar occasionally by Mosshart and once by White, who stepped forward for "Will There Be Enough Water?"
Performed live, most of the material from the Weather's debut album, "Horehound," seemed interchangeable. The band didn't put two solid songs back-to-back until the encore set, which segued from "Hang You from the Heavens," the album's standout, to Bob Dylan's "New Pony."
The musical gestures were broader than in the tighter (and better) duos that brought White and Mosshart to prominence. Although the Weather never stretched out in the manner of Led Zeppelin, clearly a major inspiration, the group did rely on arena-rock's dramatic pauses and grand flourishes. These didn't always enhance the songs, whose thin melodies were easily trampled. Whatever White meant when he sang, "I cut like a buffalo," "I move like a buffalo" would have been more accurate.
(The band performs at 9:30 club again tonight.)
By David Malitz |
July 14, 2009; 12:21 PM ET
Live Last Night
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