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The Dead Weather Lives Up to the Hype

July 20th, 2009

The Dead Weather – Terminal 5 – July 17, 2009

(Photo: Gregg Greenwood)

(Photo: Gregg Greenwood)

With the hype surrounding the Dead Weather’s heavily rock-pedigreed members, it’s easy to see how the band’s second stop in New York City could turn into an event. Attracting Jay-Z and Kanye West is a testament to the attention they’ve received with their only album barely on store shelves. Friday night’s show at Terminal 5 was added after the first night sold out, but the all-star rock group’s performance was no afterthought. They delivered on the buzz that has been building since their formation in March.

With only enough songs in their repertoire to fill a set lasting barely an hour, the Dead Weather relied on sheer performance to please the crowd. Frontwoman Alison Mosshart impressed as Jack White hunkered over his drum set, lurking in the background while the crowd waited for him to take the spotlight. That tension paid off in full as he crept out from behind the kit to finish the set with an all-out rock version of a Johnny-and-June-style duet with Mosshart on “Will There Be Enough Water?” The crowd erupted the moment White slid his guitar strap over his shoulder. And even the singer stepped to the side of the stage to watch as White ripped a guitar solo. She seemed as starry-eyed as those in the audience watching this growing rock legend.

As great as White’s moment in the spotlight was, the Dead Weather proved over the course of the rest of the set just how good they are as a band and not just as a Jack White side project. Upon returning to the stage for an encore, Mosshart stepped up her already electrically captivating performance and carried that energy until the finish of “New Pony,” nearly collapsing as the whole band screamed “How much? How much?”—fitting lyrics for a band with no end in sight. —Sean O’Kane