@ZackTeibloom It’s getting discouraging. I know I should just accept that Jack White plays drums and is a back-up singer in the band he’s most committed to. Nope. It doesn’t feel right. I was hopeful the new album would feature Jack coming out from behind the kit and picking up the guitar at least a couple more times. Nope. He’s relegated to one song wailing away on the guitar and it’s by far their best.
The Dead Weather kicked into gear right as The Muse ended a triumphant (but wanking) extravaganza of a show Andy is overrating to the point he thinks it’s better than Jay-Z. It’s almost as big a miscalculation as not having one of the best guitars in the world play more than one song on guitar. OK I’ll pretend to get over it long enough to tell you they did play a damn good blues-rock show that I was captivated for.
Dressed all in black, The Dead Weather dealt us a batch of tracks off the upcoming Sea of Cowards, starting with “Forever My Queen,” which is new, but didn’t even make the album despite being one of their strongest. Jack pounded away with emphatic two handed slams on his kit as Alison roared. Jack toned it down as he rattled the rims of his kit for “60 ft. Tall,” before taking a monster solo on “Hang You From the Heavens.”
Alison sat down as Jack strolled to the front of the stage to take over vocals on “You Just Can’t Win,” crooning his lines before getting back to the set in time to finish the song as Alison beat a tambourine and I noticed how long Little Jack’s goatee has gotten.
“How You doin, Coachella? Good to see you again,” Jack White said to us. “It’s not too hot. It’s not too cool. It’s just right.” Thanks Goldilocks. Alison brought out her echo-y box-y guitar for “So Far From Your Weapon.” Jack echoed Alison’s voice, pulling off the impressive playing drums while singing move by having the mic positioned in the middle of his set. I know I would have knocked it down with a stick.
They followed the with a couple of new ones, an Alison led track and the new single “Die by the Drop” an eerie call and response that engaged Jack and Alison despite him sticking behind the drums. Jack intro’d the band, calling Alison “Kid Ruthless” before telling us they were going to play new track “Hustle and Cuss” with “Jack Lawrence on bass with one of his grooves.” It was quite a groove, Jack.
Sea of Cowards songs pop a little more and seem more riff-based. It’s a good move for them, but not one new song they played featured JW on guitar. They finished strong. “Cut Like A Buffalo” had Jack on lead vocals (I remember him usually on back-up there) before their gem, “Will There Be Enough Water.”
Timing couldn’t have been worse, because just as Jack waltzed up to pick up his guitar, Tiesto started his especially loud DJ set. It caused Andy, Rob and Matt to leave their post to head over to Tiesto. Big mistake. Alison started the song with a cigarette as she sat down to build up energy. At least to build up the sexual tension she’d soon exhibit with Jack. The 10-minute opus is everything the band should be. Move Jack Lawrence to drums, put White on guitar, move Dean to keys and let Alison be sexy and smoke and sing into Jack’s mouth. Who needs a bass when Jack is pounding out nuanced blues solos? It wasn’t quite the explosion of a solo like the ACL show, but I have a feeling I’ll watch it a few times when it’s on YouTube.
Typically I’ve seen them end on “Will There Be Enough Water,” but they gave us two more and chose wisely. They beat a live horse with “New Pony,” and as they sand “How much longer?!” I had to wonder the same thing about Jack White and the guitar. How much longer do I have to go to see him play and only get one song on the guitar?
“Alright, Coachella we have one more song. Thank you so much” Jack said to the enthusiastic crowd who didn’t leave for the wild dance party that was starting at Tiesto. They closed with “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” losing themselves in the tricky wordplay for a minute and using it as an excuse to rock it harder and play a more improvised, thumping version. They ended with a bang, showing they can stray from the songs. I left satisfied, but not completely.
Post-script: As I’m typing this in a desert town Starbucks, there’s an awful midi version of U2 “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and I have to think, Jack White still hasn’t quite found what he’s looking for. At least not what I’m looking for. Get back on the axe, man!