On a day that was by far the muggiest since my arrival, The Dead Weather, with self inflicted feedback emitting from Jack Lawrence’s bass amp, a howling single guitar note from Dean Fertita’s grandiose white six-string, the heart stopping thump bred from the loins of Jack White’s drum set, and banshee-like shrieks reverberating from somewhere deep inside Allison Mosshart, offered the rock and roll rain gods their opening salvo of noise as a ritualistic sacrifice. “So it was played, so it shall be done,” this hypothetical deity seemed to say, answering the wishes of the crowd by casting a beautifully gray rain cloud over the field and dumping the chilled precipitation on us. A faint sizzling could be heard when the first drops landed.
“Let it be known that The Dead Weather brought the rain,” said Jack White from atop his drum throne before drilling the first notes of Pentagram’s “Forever My Queen,” the band’s official opening number, and it was a cover?
When The Dead Weather broke into “Hang You Up From The Heavens,” the first single off its 2009 debut Horehound, the transitions from sludgy to fast and whimpering to raucous literally blew me away. The sound was so intense that it physically moved me backward. The Dead Weather is the most powerful live act I have ever seen. Having been born in 1989 I never got to see Led Zeppelin but, dare I make the comparison? I can only imagine that the experience was similar. Both bands play that bluesified hard-rock with repetitive distorted guitar riffs, controlled chaos on the drums, and howling feminine vocals. What does it say about the state of music when a band so similar to the legendary Zeppelin still plays in a state of virtual anonymity? Ask around, not enough people know who The Dead Weather are.
“Cut Like a Buffalo” was another highlight of the show. The song has developed into a fan favorite and the audience erupted for it.
My personal favorite was the performance of “I’m Mad,” where Mosshart actually lost her mind on stage. This song was written t for her. Mosshart may sing the songs but she by no means acts as the band leader. It’s a tough position to be in because White still controls too much star power. He may have shoved himself behind a bulky drum kit, but all eyes still remain on he and his black fedora. However, during this angry number she walks hard, strutting from wing to wing, cackling at the audience. She leaps atop speakers and White’s drum platform, releasing her beautiful wailing vocals. Her charismatic movements, long jet black hair swinging frantically in the wind, and shrieks of madness command your attention. And you’ll give it. Allison Mosshart is a rock goddess and to be treated as such.
I stayed for one more song, “Hustle and Cuss,” and it was time to leave. Weezer was taking the Which Stage.