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The Dead Weather with Jack White, intense & dramatic
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The Dead Weather with Jack White, intense & dramatic

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

The Dead Weather
August 20
Paramount Theatre


Truth be told, I went to The Dead Weather show last week to be in the same building with Jack White - and I wasn't alone. The large turnout at the Paramount Theatre, leaning heavily male and very much hipster, shrieked and hollered when the mysterious, near-freakish rock star appeared on stage with a head of hair that would make an electrical socket proud.

White, the genius behind Grammy-winning duo The White Stripes and member of another successful ensemble, The Raconteurs, and producer of Loretta Lynn's widely acclaimed comeback, Van Lear Rose, arrived in Seattle with his latest side project in tow, a razor-sharp act called The Dead Weather. Fronted by The Kills leading lady Allison Mosshart and enlisting Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Dean Fertita and fellow Raconteur Jack Lawrence (also in the Greenhornes), the new Jack White gig has badass written all over it - dramatic lyrics, dark backgrounds, stinging vocals, and in concert, the group was considerably intense.

Opening with "60 Feet Tall," Mosshart immediately presented herself as a don't-mess-with-me chick - a girly Joan Jett loaded with cockiness. I loved her gritty presence right off the bat, though she became a bit over-the-top as the night moved on. "Bone House" came next, and while it was a great piece, the constant flashing of stage lights made it slightly annoying towards the end.

"Hang You from the Heavens" was awesome and sinfully indulgent, especially when Mosshart sang, "I'd like to grab you by the hair, and drag you to the devil." Fertita and Lawrence grinded away on guitars and bass like synchronized chainsaws in a deep forest. Even better was a flawless run-through of "I Cut Like a Buffalo," featuring White on vocals as he also hammered on drums.

Particularly weird and not so flattering was "Rocking Horse"; it wasn't as captivating as the other songs performed at the Paramount and doesn't leap out from the band's debut album, Horehound. The opposite can be said about "No Hassle Night," which dazzled with slick guitars and moody percussion. It was showered with abundant lighting, yet this time the lights and sound went hand in hand.

The Dead Weather polished their main set with "Will There Be Enough Water," a western-rock ballad collaborating the vocals of White and Mosshart. Interestingly, the pair shared a microphone and stood practically on top of each other, almost to the point that it seemed shameful, as White is married to British model Karen Elston. It was like a bad scene in Walk the Line because the chemistry there just seemed wrong.

A three-song encore included a cover of Pentagram's "Forever My Queen" and the night's parting number, "New Pony." From start to finish, The Dead Weather was on stage barely over an hour, and by the sound of it everyone appeared satisfied with the overall performance. White played a huge role, as his loyal followers would plop serious money down just to hear him announce the traffic report.

Near the conclusion of the show, Mosshart stood on a box or something else mounted onstage and bobbed her head crazily, drawing cheers from around the theater. She felt more natural to me at this moment, not as rehearsed as earlier in the concert. I actually liked her - this coming from a writer who usually turns away from female-led acts - and though she overworked herself at times, I was fascinated by her gutsy stage persona.

There's no telling if The Dead Weather is a single album-touring project, or if they'll regroup for a second wind in the years ahead. But where there's Jack White, there are fans lining up to sample his experiments.

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