Brief review of The Dead Weather at Third Man, August 26th 2009.
We drove into Los Angeles today to see The Dead Weather tonight at the Mayan. While we were here, we thought we'd take in a band at mid-day as well, and as luck would have it, The Dead Weather were playing at lunchtime at Third Man Records West, the LA pop-up store that opened today. So we thought it would be a refreshing contrast to see The Dead Weather before we went off the two miles or so to the Mayan to see The Dead Weather.
LA was unusually smoggy - you could see a layer of brown just a few hundred feet above the ground. After a while it occurred to me it was actually smoke and the San Gabriel mountains were on fire. This seemed to be business as usual for the LA people, none of whom seemed to have noticed the smoke until I asked where the fire was.
I got in line at about 10 am and stood in the August Southern California sun for two hours until I was called forward (as a Vault member) to go inside to the front of the line. By that time, I felt I had adequately betrayed my dermatologist's instructions to avoid sun exposure, and in fact was feeling quite woozy with it. I did manage to get a bottle of water from a water seller, who only charged me 96c, because that's all I had. That's LA for you - you have to be pretty slow to get ripped off. Everyone is naturally nice.
The Dead Weather, of course, were awesome, with an abbreviated set that included the new number, Jawbreaker - a sort of late-period Marc Bolan tune with a thunderous British Invasion riff driven by Little Jack on bass - I Cut Like a Buffalo, Forever My Queen and the one about the gecko. (I can never remember what it's called but I sing the chorus to my geckos. It goes, "You gotta get up, gecko, I said no. You got to get up, gecko." They don't listen. This was my first chance to sing it back to Alison Mosshart, who didn't listen either. ) A couple of other tracks too - five or six in all.
Excellent show, typically cool (in attitude, in body quite feverishly hot) LA crowd, of course. Loved Alison, who sang powerfully and was totally in-charge. Dean Fertita has come a long way since I saw them in June when I said he had charisma but did not know where the on-switch was - well, he's found it. Little Jack laid down his usual strong foundation, and Jack White was Jack White - and significantly better at keeping the band together than he was in June. He's looking magnificent, too. Long curly raven hair and built like... a buffalo, I guess.
Sounded absolutely great and was a wonderful appetizer for the main band tonight, which will be The Dead Weather.
Excellent pics from Stereogum, including Bizarro White Stripes and a lovely shot of the back of my head (picture 31).
More to come and possibly pictures later when I'm not posting from a Starbucks. (Which has just started playing Dave and Ansell Collins' Double Barrel -the first record I ever bought. Excuse me while I go dance!) [Edited to add these]