Concert review: The Dead Weather at LC

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After the jump, thoughts on Saturday's Columbus debut by The Dead Weather...

Like many folks, I was highly skeptical of The Dead Weather, Jack White's latest presumed exercise in self-indulgence/roadblock to the next White Stripes LP. I'm glad White feels free to get his rocks off by playing drums in yet another blues-rock combo, but there's something special about that now-legendary candy cane duo.

Furthermore, after a cursory listen, I didn't find the band's debut Horehound much more stimulating than White's mildly entertaining work with The Raconteurs, one of my biggest "What's the big deal?" bands of all time. The Kills' Alison Mosshart is a far more electric collaborator than Brendan Benson, but nothing on the album left me saying "Whoa."

Yet for some reason I found myself eager to see White's latest brainchild in concert, so after the thrilling Crew game I sped down to LC Pavilion to see the Dead Weather do their thing.

I arrived during what I'm told was the fourth song of the set to find the band in a brooding blues whisper. Mosshart was playing guitar, while Dean Fertita had shifted to keyboards Jack Lawrence (the bespectacled dude from The Raconteurs) was holding it down on bass. Meanwhile, White pounded unassumingly at the back of the stage. It seemed like one of those hushed-then-explosive numbers, but it never fully exploded to my liking.

That was the last time I was disappointed. This band absolutely brings it.

White stepped to the front and strapped on a guitar for a set-closing jam that nailed the aforementioned quiet-loud formula, but Mosshart is the center of attention here. Freed from the shackles of the guitar she was playing when I walked in, she spent most of the show stalking the stage, howling and growling with fury and flair. In hindsight, this shouldn't have been a surprise; in The Kills, the woman captivates crowds without much more than some canned audio blaring behind her.

In this band, however, she has the benefit of rock-solid support. White predictably holds his own on drums, but his synchronicity with Lawrence and Fertita seemed to be mutually edifying. The trio fed off each other marvelously, building a blues-punk stomp that wasn't too technical nor dumbed down. Even the sorta silly "Treat Me Like Your Mother" slayed on this night.

Thanks to the minimal amount of songs in their arsenal, the band did its business and got the hell out of there. Even with a three-song encore, the set barely topped an hour, which is fine by me. Far too many bands try to overstay their welcome. The Dead Weather left me wanting more.