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Concert Reviews:
The Dead Weather Rattles The Roof At The Fillmore
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- A year has made a significant difference for the Dead Weather.

In 2009 the all-star quartet -- featuring Detroit natives Jack White (the White Stripes, the Raconteurs) and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, the Waxwings) -- emerged quickly and surprisingly and revealed itself as a fierce and fearless live act with a psychedelic blues-rock approach that drew from each of the members' bands but, in total, sounded entirely unique. On Saturday night (July 31) at the Fillmore Detroit the group sounded even moreso, with material from a second album ("Sea of Cowards") that took the music into new sonic territory and expanded the palette on which the Dead Weather played during the 18-song, hour-and-40-minute set -- with greater confidence but still the same raw ferocity the band exhibited in its two Detroit area appearances last year.

Cheered on by what frontwoman Alison Mosshart (the Kills) noted was "a lot of friends and a lot of family," the black-clad Dead Weather members strolled on under gaze of a large eyeball staring from the backdrop and lit into a leaden cover of Pentagram's "Forever My Queen" before Fertita slid into the slinky groove of the group's own "60 Feet Tall." The group split the rest of the night fairly evenly between the two albums -- plus a covers of Them's "You Just Can't Win" and Bob Dylan's "New Pony" -- muscling up its funk side on songs such as "Hustle and Cuss" and "The Difference Between Us" and adding drum machines and synthesizers into the mix for an electro flavor in "Bone House" and "I Can't Hear You." And, of course, there was plenty of bone-rattling, full-throttle rock such as "I Cut Like a Buffalo," "No Horse," "I'm Mad" and "Die By the Drop."

Flipping between guitar and keyboards, Fertita -- who White joked has three hands -- was in many ways the musical star of the night, but there's no question about who's homecoming it really was. The fedoraed White, who plays mostly drums, his first instrument, for the Dead Weather, received the loudest ovation of the night when the group simply walked on stage. And there were Richter-scale explosions whenever White -- who talked about visiting his "sister" and White Stripes partner Meg White and her 180-pound mastiff during the day -- came out from behind the kit, first to sing "You Just Can't Win" and then to play guitar on "Will There Be Enough Water?" (for which bassist Jack Lawrence (the Greenhornes, the Raconteurs) took over on drums) and "I Can't Hear You."

The show ended with a stomping "Treat Me Like Your Mother," appropriate since some of the band members' real moms were in the crowd. It was the whole audience, however, that was treated to a galvanizing performance, and when White shouted a sincere "Detroit, God bless you. I love you so much!" during the final bows, it was definitely a universal feeling in the Fillmore.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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