The Dead Weather at Sound Academy, Toronto – Gig review and show photos

July 16, 2010

The Gig: The Dead Weather
Where: Sound Academy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: 15 July 2010
In One Word: Absorbing

The Dead Weather at Sound Academy, Toronto, 15 July 2010 - photo by Brian Banks, Music Vice“The Dead Weather gave a storming performance befitting a band leading a new high.”

The Dead Weather are legit. The real deal. They are a rock supergroup who merit their place on the front cover of our music magazines and on the walls of teenagers’ bedrooms.

Over the last decade in music, things rather lost their way. It was all very exciting to begin with at the turn of the millennium. We had the massive breakthrough of indie bands like The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol, while in terms of stadium rock the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters were still good. And there was Radiohead, of course… old faithful Radiohead. But things got a bit damp in the latter half of the noughties, after a saturation of screamo, emo, ‘hardcore’ and new wave bands. It all just got a bit tired and limp. As we entered a new decade in 2010, a change was needed. Something new, but with the power of the old. Something with soul, energy. Something to really get excited about. And then… BAM! It happened. The Dead Weather released their swaggering sophomore record, forecasting a change in the musical waters. A revival seemed imminent, and tonight at the Sound Academy I experienced this new chapter in rock n’ roll as the Dead Weather gave a storming performance befitting a band leading a new high.

The Dead Weather played with aplomb, delivering their blend of sexy garage and blues rock to a hot, sweaty and thoroughly receptive Toronto crowd. The most striking thing for me was the chemistry of the band, and it’s that same chemistry that can be heard on the Dead Weather’s albums that translates to the stage with even greater effect. While obviously rehearsed and well practiced, they just sounded and performed so natural and freely as a group.

Jack White is the most famous name of the Nashville, Tennesse based The Dead Weather but for the most part he took a back seat to proceedings, being the main drummer of the group. Up front it was the lead singer Alison Mosshart who was in the limelight – no, make that blue light- often bending and contorting her frame as she howled out vocals in a tone which is not dissimilar to that of White. Flanking Mosshart on either side of the bespectacled bassist Jack Lawrence and Dean Fertita on keys and guitar. (Interestingly, it’s just a month since we last saw Fertita in town, when he played with Eagles of Death Metal.)

Playing through material from their two albums to date, the set was without lull and had the majority of the crowd trappeThe Dead Weather at Sound Academy, Toronto, 15 July 2010 - photo by Brian Banks, Music Viced in a gaze for the duration of the show. “Hustle and Cuss”, the Dylan cover “New Pony” and Mosshart’s fall-to-the-floor performance for “Gasoline”, were some of the biggest peaks of the set, but the real magic came towards the end of night. Before the encore, The Dead Weather played “Will There Ever Be Enough Water?” – the sultry keys from Fertita going up against some heavier grooves, with Jack Lawrence on drums as White moved up to with Mosshart to stand silhouetted against the blue lights as they shared the mic. Then BAM!, Jack White laid down one of his signature screeching-guitar solos: A moment to be absorbed, as White played the blues with that same tone and feeling that made The White Stripes so essential.

The Dead Weather played a four song encore, with the pick of the bunch being “I Can’t Hear You”. With all four members of The Dead Weather standing, they played over a drum-machine loop in what was a hypnotic moment. There were more squeals from Jack White’s guitar, while the smoke machine worked in overtime as the band built to a crescendo, finishing the song with an explosive 20 second outro. The night ended with “Treat Me Like Your Mother”, from Horehound, a song which features my favourite Dead Weather lyrics, the most memorable of all being: You blink when you breathe and you breathe when you lie.

Jack White of The Dead Weather can now be revered for having being part of two of the most influential bands of recent times. Of all the bands I mentioned above, The White Stripes were the most exciting and essential of all to emerge at the start of 2000. And now in 2010 he’s gone and done it again: The Dead Weather are at the edge of what is not just a breathe of fresh air to music, but a gale of wind that’s blown away so many of the redundant bands that we’ve had to endure in recent years. Déjà vu Jack? If you read this, give yourself a pat on the back.

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

Pictures of The Dead Weather at Sound Academy:

Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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6 Responses to The Dead Weather at Sound Academy, Toronto – Gig review and show photos

  1. Rebecca on July 17, 2010 at 12:58 am


  2. jj on July 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

    You say “the majority of the crowd (was) trapped in a gaze”….. This is so not true not because of the stellar fantastic incredible band but because of the design of the Sound Academy it meant that eighty percent of the people on the floor watching could not see the band. There is no possible way with such a low stage and long room that anyone past the first thirty people can see. My friends and I saw NOTHING except what I saw on the teensy tiny crappy video screen at the very back of the room. NO one should go to a show there. I saw many many pissed off patrons.

    Sounded good though, loved it. What a disgusting venue and if I were the serious musicians that Jack and his band appear to be I would give my booking managers shit. I personally think I deserve a free CD for what I put up with. I went to a show I didnt see.

  3. Freddy on July 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Excellent shots Mr. Banks.

  4. Mary on July 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    I waited in line for 5 hours to get up front which I did and had an incredible view of the entire band until several teenage boys pushed, kicked and punched their way to the front. I was pushed down as were several other people and then we lost full view of everything . I knew it would be crazy but security did nothing. I ended up leaving half way through. Great band, the worst venue ever and if Jack White knew how many people missed out on the show because of this I am sure he would be pissed! They are a super talented group but there were alot of teenagers there to just raise Hell and not to appreciate the true artists they are. I will never go back there and the Dead Weather needs to perform in a venue that deserves them!

  5. Jeff on July 18, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Sadly, I was not at the show.I have however seen shows at that venue and it is SHIT!!

  6. Marlene on July 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    The Dead Weather put on one hell of a performance…. what I could see of them anyways. They rocked harder at this show then when we saw them last year at the Kool Haus. Jack White beats hell out of his drums just as wickedly as he does his guitar. What a performer Allison is! What a set of pipes ! Dean is multi- talented and LJ’s bass…!However I agree with other reviewers about the venue and the assholes in the crowd. I was only able to catch glimpses throughout the night. We were even at the side near the washrooms, close to the front ! I was disgusted by the inconsiderate jack asses that thought that no one else mattered. I agree with Mary… where the hell were security to get them out of there? Concert tickets aren’t cheap and when I go I want to be able to just enjoy the show not be watching it through somebody’s cell phone that they’re using to film the performance. They block the view of some of us shorter concert goers, people ! Be considerate please. We’ve been to a number of concerts and the Mod Club Theatre, Kool Haus and Town Ballroom in Buffalo so far are the best venues.

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