all INSANE photos: Dakota Fine
all words: Svetlana Legetic
Jack White brought his rock’n’roll circus to town on Monday and Tuesday and DC descended upon 930 club like a sea of rock’n’roll starved vultures. I went on Monday so the story is from then and Dakota took photos on Tuesday.
But lets start at the beginning.
I got there at 8:10 pm because Cale made me pinky swear not to miss the Screaming Females. He saw them play that much-discussed AU show and has been a convert since.
At 8:15, Marissa, all 5 feet and swishy bangs of her, in a dress intended for a (librarian) doll, stepped on the stage and unleashed a fury that I have not seen in people twice her size.
She probably eats people twice her size for breakfast, actually.
Her and Mike and Jarrett played the tightest, fastest, most ridiculous half an hour set, by the end of which, a pretty packed 930 club was fully converted to the Females cult, screaming and clapping along.
The key to the success is that the band, while really loud and really rocking also still strongly relies on old fashioned musical crutches such as : catchy choruses, swishy guitar solos, and a good solid poppy beat (shocking, I know).
It was pretty great, in my opinion and will only get more fun as they learn how to have more fun with it.
Then around 9:30 The Dead weather stepped (sauntered?) on the stage.
It was kind of like: OK, kids are done, time for adults to play.
While Screaming females played against a black plain backdrop, and wore clothes they found in a basement of some thrift store in New Brunswick, the Dead Weather show, from the light show down to the immaculately disheveled hair and perfectly fitted black/animal print outfits was so polished and pro that it almost seemed a little contrived and ridiculous. I mean, even their roadies have ridiculous hats and too-cool-for-school suited uniforms.
For the uninitiated, in this incarnation of his musical career, Jack White is mostly on the drums and mostly in the back and Allison Mosshart of the Kills (wearing a leopard print jacket I’ve seen her in a million times in show photos) climbs speakers, throws hair artfully in her pretty face and SCREAMS A LOT. Dean Fertita (of Queens of the Stone Age, looking only seconds away from posing for a leather jacked ad campaign) and Jack Lawrence (of The Raconteurs and The Greenhornes, looking hella scary as always with that silky hair and those bookish glasses and that carefully cultivated pallor), rounded out the all-star stage presence.
They play a show that is loud and fast and furious and completely calculated.
Every scream was planned.
Every jump was accounted for.
Every solo sounded exactly the same as it will sound in Oklahoma and in New York.
And all the songs are good (Jack White is a person whose musical taste I respect thoroughly, he is so FULL OF TASTE I want to cry sometimes) but not genius (makes you actually really miss their original bands, for what it’s worth).
But it is thoroughly entertaining (at least for a while, since it is not a long show, them having only one record and all) and your ears are buzzing and when Jack steps up and joins Allison on the mike, and the whole audience fist pumps, well, you fist pump a little too, even if seconds before you conceded that “this band reminds me of what a band in a high budget Hollywood movie would be like”.
And as long as you don’t scratch the surface too hard, it is a pretty good ROCK SPECTACLE to be part of on a Monday night.
Just don’t go buying some motorcycle monster impulsively afterwards, k?
Jack White probably drives a Prius himself.
NOW ENJOY SOME MORE PHOTOS (bonus: NPR streamed the show)