Alison Mosshart (in Montreux, Switzerland, earlier this month) nearly stole the show from her Dead Weather bandmates Wednesday. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters)
Dead Weather brings storm of intensity to House of Blues
The first thing you’ll want to do after seeing the Dead Weather in concert is take a shower. Probably a cold one.
At least that was the impression at the band’s sold-out show at the House of Blues Wednesday night, an evening of dirty and depraved junkyard rock rooted deep in the blues. The performance was so intoxicating, you couldn’t avert your eyes from the stage — mainly out of fear that sinister singer Alison Mosshart might knife you while your back was turned.
The Dead Weather is made up of four musicians who first made their names in other bands. The White Stripes’ Jack White, who mostly plays drums in his new band, tends to get all the attention, but it’s truly a group effort. Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) holds court on bracing guitar and keyboards, while Jack Lawrence (the Raconteurs) gives the songs depth with his murky bass lines.
It was Mosshart, though, who nearly stole the show with her feral intensity. As part of the British duo the Kills, she’s always been a hurricane, picking up choice bits from her predecessors — a pinch of Patti Smith’s steeliness, some of Janis Joplin’s vocal ferocity, and half of Siouxsie Sioux’s all-black stage attire.
On the opening “No Horse,’’ Mosshart — or “Baby Ruthless,’’ as White called her — stalked the stage as if waiting for someone who was supposed to be home two hours ago. Between her manic giggles and the blasts of blue lights, “I’m Mad’’ was an unsettling bit of psychedelic blues-rock from the group’s new album, “Sea of Cowards.’’
As much as she owns the spotlight, Mosshart has met her match in the Dead Weather. White shares her affinity for the dark side, and their chemistry is the linchpin of the band’s dynamic. When he stepped up as the frontman on “You Just Can’t Win,’’ their bodies swayed in synch, but it was impossible to tell who was leading this dance.
Having spent most of the night behind the drum kit with a few turns on lead vocals (“I Cut Like a Buffalo,’’ “Looking at the Invisible Man’’), White finally showcased his searing guitar prowess on “Will There Be Enough Water?,’’ a downcast duet with Mosshart that offered some fleeting respite before another round of sleaze and sludge.
After the final encore of “Treat Me Like Your Mother,’’ White’s farewell remark felt like an exorcism to cast out all the demons that the Dead Weather had just unleashed. “God bless you, Boston.’’
James Reed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.