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Dead Weather Shows Rock and Roll is Alive

By Daniel Maddox
Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2009, at 05:01PM
The Dead Weather Andrew Gombert / EPA

The Dead Weather, the latest band by Jack White of White Stripes fame, performs for a full house at Main street's Regent Theatre.



Rock N Roll is alive and well thanks to Jack White and his band of misfits.

White’s most recent band “The Dead Weather” played a 30-minute show to open the pop-up shop of Third Man Records at the Regent Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. As showtime grew near, the line snaked from Main street to 5th and onto Los Angeles. By the time the band started to play more than 500 people were crowded inside the small room.

As soon as Alison Mosshart took the microphone she was in full rock mode. Hair dripping, black skinny jeans on with an oversized black t-shirt, she came to the Regent's small stage aimlessly holding a cigarette in her hand and clutching the microphone cord like a whip poised to dominate any and everyone that got in her way. At one point during the first song she flicked her cigarette into the audience and then flashed a look as if to dare anyone to cross her.

This was take no prisoners music. Loud and aggressive and not stopping to catch its breath or to give a reprieve to anyone! It just got hotter, louder and more kick-ass as the show continued. Even though there were 500 people in the venue and it was 12:30 in the afternoon, the Dead Weather played like they were headlining for 10,000 people at a festival.

The set was only 6 songs but the group did include most of their hits, such as “Hang You From the Heavens” and “I Cut Like a Buffalo”. They hit their climax perfectly at the end with “Treat Me Like Your Mother”. Then, as suddenly as they had jumped onto the stage, they were gone.

White, who came to fame with the band The White Stripes, has had unprecedented success with all of his off-shoots musically, first The Raconteurs and now The Dead Weather. The Downtown heat was not nearly enough to sway the hipsters that awaited not only the chance to see The Dead Weather for free but the promise of limited edition merchandise at one of two pop-up stores.

Inside they would find very limited vinyl releases from the Third Man Records groups, some that are only available here. If you collect vinyl, then this is a no brainer.

The second store, open only today, is actually a reverse of the first store, just 10 yards away.

I mean that literally.

Instead of black and yellow, everything is blue and white. All of the artwork is inverted or backwards and all the records are limited edition singles and they are all in reverse. Yes, when you play the record you will hear the music backwards!

To top it all off, Jack White, who normally plays drums in The Dead Weather, and Jack Lawrence, who normally plays bass, reversed things up themselves. Jack White came out in a wig and glasses and took up the bass as Jack Lawrence, also in a wig with his hair pulled up, sat down at a pink baby grand piano.

They performed one song for the 40 or so people smashed wall to wall in the small store and about 30 more left on the sidewalk desperately wanting to get in.

The event showed off both the potential and the plight of Main street's Regent Theatre. The ceiling had large chunks of paint falling off and the floor was uneven concrete. There was little light to be seen other than a few work lights that were strung from the ceiling. As the room began to fill up the heat increased dramatically.

Yet, it was all very appropriate for what was about to come.

After about 30 minutes of waiting a crash of distortion rang through the speakers almost deafening most of the audience. The Dead Weather took the stage without missing a beat and instantly threw themselves into their first song.

It is rare that I am at a concert wanting more but I was. I had been lured into this sweaty grimy hall with the promise of rock music and I didn’t want it to end. It was loud and unapologetic and I loved every second of it.

Third Man Records Pop-Up Store is open through Friday at 448 S. Main. The Dead Weather performs tonight at the Mayan Theatre.

You can read more of Daniel's music writings at http://boredandbeats.blogspot.com.

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