Concert Reviews

Last Night: The Dead Weather at House of Blues

The Dead Weather
House of Blues
October 5, 2009

Better Than:
Sunny Day Real Estate, Rob Thomas, and Arctic Monkeys combined. Yeah, I said it.

As far as rock 'n' roll supergroups are concerned, there are two main varieties: those comprised of members of formerly great bands, reeking of late career desperation (see: Chickenfoot) and those comprised of rock icons at the top of their game (see: Cream). Luckily for fans at the House of Blues last night, The Dead Weather proved to be the latter.

While Jack White is hands down the biggest name the group boasts, by the time the first verse of opening song "60 Feet Tall" had ended, there was no mistaking that this wasn't White's band at all. On the contrary, Kills frontwoman Alison Mosshart strutted, writhed, pranced and posed so spectacularly that it actually wasn't hard to forget that White, who spent much of the night behind the drum kit, was a member of the band at all. And the best part? Mosshart seemed wholly aware that when she's at the top of her game there is no one that can touch her.

The blistering raw power of her screech on songs like "Hang You Up From The Heavens" cut through the tumult of guitar, not only serving to up the intensity, but convincing the audience members that they were in fact about to be grabbed by the hair and dragged to the devil. Throughout the set, Mosshart paced the floor like a predator stalking fresh meat while the rest of the band, firing on all cylinders, scorched through most of their debut album. Also included in the set was a new song called "Jailbreaker", which, thanks to White's punk-like drumming, had a heavier, faster feel than much of the rest of the band's material.

But just because Mosshart was in control for most of the night, it didn't mean Jack White didn't pick his moments to step out front--most notably on the band's final song, a nearly 10-minute jam that saw fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence taking over duties behind the kit and White using his wide array of effects. It was just further proof of why he's widely considered the most innovative guitarist of his time.

Then after riotous encore consisting of Horehound's three best tracks ("Cut Like a Buffalo," "New Pony," and "Treat Me Like Your Mother") the band gathered arm-in-arm at center stage to pose for one last photo and take its final bow. And then, just like that, the band marched out the same way they came in--in a single file line, carrying a 6-foot tall, taxidermied giraffe's head.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note:
Apparently Jack White had time to do some shopping while he was in Austin for ACL. He was sporting big shiny orange Longhorns belt buckle during the band's performance.

By The Way: I thought it was a little funny that all of The Dead Weather's road crew were made to wear matching Get Behind Me Satan-era Jack White uniforms.

Random Local Celeb Sighting: Standing directly to my left during the entire show was the hulking beast of a man known as Taz Bentley. Sadly, I didn't get a chance to ask him what he thought of White's skills behind the kit.

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Cory Graves