On Saturday I drove down to Westerville, OH., and got a professional-grade tour of Otterbein College from my nephew Tony, a sophomore there. After an excellent dinner at Banana Leaf, a vegetarian Indian joint, Tony and I headed to the LC Pavilion to see the Dead Weather, who put on one of the better shows I've seen. DW revive the concept of the "supergroup" and poach members from bands as original and entertaining as the Kills and the Greenhornes. Of course, even from behind the drums, Jack White's the gonzo leader. DW's music, electric blues, lends itself to live performance, especially with White exciting the crowd by his very presence and singer Alison Mosshart prowling the stage and climbing on amps and generally menacing the crowd. White came out from behinds the drums to rip up a guitar during set-closing "Will There Be Enough Water," but the highlights for me were the up-tempo tracks like "Cut Like A Buffalo" where the foursome transcended "side project" and just rocked out. Hope DW proves to be more than just a one-record/one-tour experiment.
Who opened the show? Glad you asked. New Jersey's own punk outfit, the Screaming Females. I would venture to bet that most of the crowd had never heard the SF before. I would also venture to bet that the crowd was impatient for the Dead Weather when SF took the stage for their too-brief set. But somehow, the Screaming Females won the crowd over. It only took one guitar solo from band leader (the only screaming female in the group) for the audience to want more. Just like Dead Weather does fairly traditional electric blues, the Screaming Females do fairly traditional punk (aside from the solos). It's the level of mastery over the guitar that sets SF above so many others working in the genre. They kicked ass. By the time they blasted out a cover of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," I knew I had to hear more. Happily the band was selling refreshingly inexpensive records at the door afterward. A great night, capped off by ramen noodles in Tony's dorm, followed by me returning to regularly scheduled adulthood.