deadweatherblockparty.jpg
Renee McMahon
The Dead Weather played the Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday, July 25.
The Dead Weather

Capitol Hill Block Party, Mainstage

Sunday, July

"/>

The Dead Weather Close Out* the Capitol Hill Block Party Last Night

deadweatherblockparty.jpg
Renee McMahon
The Dead Weather played the Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday, July 25.
The Dead Weather

Capitol Hill Block Party, Mainstage

Sunday, July 25

The Dead Weather--Jack White's backing band du jour--are today's (and tomorrow's will be whatever project Jack White is spearheading) standard bearers of straight-ahead, arena-ready blues rock. They don't pack the heft that White's other White Stripes distraction, The Raconteurs, does. But on stage, they make up for what they're missing in muscle and instrumentation with pageantry and presentation.

All rock bands and artists worth the cost of admission are performers in the truest sense of the word, but the Dead Weather brings things to another place. Most-time vocalist Alison Mosshart delivered her verses as if they were lines in a play, and her frizzy black hair and pale white skin (not that the same couldn't be said of White) gave her the appearance of an understudy in the Broadway revival of The Addams Family.

Everything about the Dead Weather's set was tortuously affected--like the way the band clung to the time-stopping smacks of the melodramatic "60 Feet Tall"-- but all done to great affect. Nothing looks scripted, but at the same time nothing appeared improvised. It is as if the quartet was playing themselves onstage and they knew the script by heart. Were it not all so winning and convincing, it would be insufferable. Instead it's colossal.

40deadweather.jpg
Renee McMahon
Even with White behind the drum kit, and Mosshart primarily out front of the band, there's isn't, and never has been, any fooling about whose band this is. But since last summer's stop at The Paramount, and the release of the band's sophomore album, Sea of Cowards, it appears that the band--rounded out by Dean Fertita on guitar and Jack Lawernce, White's Ranconteurs bandmate, on bass--has gotten more comfortable with their roles. Lawrence was more animated than we've seen him alongside White; Mosshart graciously pounded away on the keyboard, or shook a tambourine when White took his turn indulging the crowd up front, and the pair duetted on "Will There Be Enough Water."

It's amazing--and a little disappointing--that there have not been more copycats of White's post-White Stripes situations. His formula is not so complicated: hip-shaking rock beats, ear-piercing guitar solos and idealized prose, all performed by a pack of accomplished musicians. It all seems so simple. But like every great idea--hey, how about we put together a rock band weaned on the blues, but as restrained, disciplined, and irreverent as a Led Zeppelin record?--it's in the execution.

And when it comes to delivering, Jack White isn't one to disappoint.

Personal Bias: I really, really miss the Raconteurs.

The Crowd: Entitled. "This is my neighborhood," one woman remarked as she justified her pushing through the crowd in search of a better spot. "I live and work just a block around the corner."

Random Notebook Dump: I wasn't the only person completely stoked to see a festival in my backyard. "It's not even late, and you can walk home," I heard one woman say. "Can you believe it?"

*Technically, the Dead Weather were not the last act of the night, just the last on the mainstage.

45blockparty2010.jpg
Renee McMahon

 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow