Reviews > Shows
The Dead Weather, Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park – 8/3
Alison Mosshart, The Dead Weather at Bonnaroo -photo by John Patrick Gatta
“Can I get a hand for Jay Z?” Jack White proclaimed halfway through The Dead Weather’s set on Tuesday night in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. “I just wanted to say that because I can.”
The statement is true in almost any sense. After reaching all-around rock and roll badass status as the frontman for both The White Stripes and the Raconteurs, White has stepped out of the spotlight and propped himself behind the drums for his newest band, The Dead Weather. Why? Because he’s Jack White, and well, he can. This time around, White shares the stage with an extremely versatile and multi-talented cast of characters—Alison Mosshart of the Kills on vocals, Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age on guitar/piano and Jack Lawrence from the Raconteurs on bass. Although only just recently formed in 2009, the supergroup has already released two albums, Horehound and Sea of Cowards, and finished their second summer tour Tuesday at New York’s Celebrate Brooklyn!
With looming, cartoon-like trees casting eerie shadows, a crowd dressed almost exclusively in black and a stage adorned with smoke, blue lights and several goat heads, Prospect Park looked more like a scene out of the Nightmare Before Christmas once 8:45 rolled around. Then, almost simultaneously and as if Tim Burton were in the sound booth directing it himself, Captain Beefheart blaring from the speakers, a black curtain dropped to reveal an oversized, psychedelic eye backdrop and the quartet that is The Dead Weather charged out from backstage, bottles in hand (and even a blowtorch in White’s), like the kind of rock stars who will trash their hotel rooms. Why? You guessed it…because they can.
The band dove right in with “60 Feet Tall,” a song that’s repetitive, infectious and the almost off-tone guitar riff made you feel as if a storm was a-coming or a fight was ready to break loose. Crowd members who just moments before had looked confused at White’s placement on the stage (“Jack White plays the drums?”) understood once Mosshart stepped up to the mic. The dark-haired vocalist, whom White later referred to as “Baby Ruthless,” flailed her limbs as if possessed, distorted her body into near backbends, perched on equipment and all-but made love to the microphone she both crooned and shrieked into—a performance, indeed.
The raw, sexy strength of Mosshart’s howling continued through the rock ballad, “Hang You From the Heavens.” It took until song three to coax White to the front of the stage, where he marched around with a walking stick like the deranged leader of a parade and lent his vocals to the Them’s “You Just Can’t Win” before getting the guitar comfortably into his hands for a much anticipated guitar solo. Although White stayed on the guitar for “So Far From Your Weapon”, it was Mosshart who shined, crooning the haunting lyrics (“I tried to give you whisky, but it never works/ Suddenly, you’re begging me to do so much worse”) into the microphone as if she were pleading with the devil.
Throughout the 90 minute set, the band equally split its time between the two albums, both bending and nailing the genre that is blues-rock with rhythm, soul, a hint of ‘60s psychedelic and a whole lot of attitude. With Doors-worthy piano in the background, the rough and sexy foot stomper “Hustle and Cuss” and the grooving White-led “I Cut Like a Buffalo” proved to be crowd favorites. Also drenched with ‘60s influence, “No Horse” exploded, with Fertita proving himself more than worthy on the guitar. “The Difference Between Us” marked another standout performance by Mosshart, as was the twisted Dylan cover “New Pony.”
The spine-tingling moment one might expect from a band such as this one came, at the end of the set. “Will There Be Enough Water” started as a cat and mouse duet with the loud, pleading White and the now-quite and almost sweet Mosshart breathing into the microphone, noses nearly touching and chemistry—and sexual tension—oozing off of the stage. The slowly building beginning was soon contrasted by a near-ten minute freakout by White on the guitar that seemed to be as natural to him as breathing. After a full band jam-out that no one wanted to see end, the group left the set smoking—literally—as if they’d just set the place on fire and didn’t feel bad about it.
Cups in the air as if it were the only way to pay respects for what they had just witnessed, the crowd was not satisfied until the band ventured back. “Hey Brooklyn,” Jack White proclaimed after a “Blues Blood Blues” that seemed to linger in the shadows in comparison to the band’s last song, “I don’t think they like the show.” After driving the crowd half mad, the Death Weather, seemingly competing with itself, topped off the night with the edgy “I Can’t Here You” and the more than explosive “Treat Me Like Your Mother.”
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