I WAS THERE: The Dead Weather Blow Through Most of Their Debut At Bowery Ballroom

[Photos/Text by Andrew Parks; slideshow available here]

Since the Dead Weather already spent a couple thousand words explaining the how and the why of Jack White‘s latest impulse project, here’s what stood out about their live debut at Bowery Ballroom last night:

  • The secret weapon status of Dean Fertita. While he’s arguably the Dead-Weather-member-no-one-recognizes, Fertita smeared many of the band’s songs in his sinewy smoke ring riffs, warm organ rolls and synth stabs that’d make Justice jealous.
  • Forget “Hang You From the Heavens”Horehound‘s dirt-caked debut single–for a second. “Treat Me Like Your Mother” is the album’s true standout, a rollicking bar brawl of a song complete with gnarled keys, the trademark cock tease vocals of Alison Mosshart, and a couple climatic passages that’ll make you want to throw whatever’s closest to you out the window. Here’s hoping this one becomes Single No. 2, as pressed in a 500-copy 7-inch run by White’s Third Man Records.
  • Not that this comes as a complete surprise, but seeing White & Mosshart in such a small venue was a glaring reminder of how they’ve become two of today’s genuine rock gods. While the former practically got a standing ovation every time he dropped his drum kit and grabbed–nay, strangled–a guitar, the latter outmaneuvered her closest contemporary‘s feral cat moves (from Sunday night’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs show) with a chain-smoking femme fatale approach that oozed confidence and the kind of sex appeal that dares you to bring her home to mom.
  • The consummate professionalism of everyone in this band, as evidenced by how airtight they sounded for a rather flawless 60 minutes. First public performance? Technically, yes, but these guys play like they’ve been figuring it out for the past decade.
  • “Will There Be Enough Water” will likely be the slow-burning set closer to many a Dead Weather show over the next six months.
  • Bob Dylan must be proud of the bruising “New Pony” gets in the Dead Weather’s play pen.
  • The taps at Dead Weather shows should be switched from beer to bourbon.
  • Can someone please explain what it means to “cut like a buffalo?” Does that mean a barnyard animal with a secret knife collection or something?
  • The White Stripes what? The Raconteurs who? And, oh yeah–we’ll be front and center at the Kills‘ show next month.

The Dead Weather, Bowery Ballroom, 4.14.09:
60 Feet Tall
Unknown Song
Treat Me Like Your Mother
Bone House
So Far From Your Weapon
No Hassle Night
I Cut Like a Buffalo
Rocking Horse
Will There Be Enough Water

Hang You From the Heavens
New Pony (Bob Dylan cover)