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Live: Dead Weather (Featuring Famous People) at Bowery Ballroom

April 15, 2009

Last night at New York City's Bowery Ballroom was the live debut of Jack White and Alison Mosshart's Dead Weather. On some personal shit, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper had to bail out of his spot to see the show last minute. Wanting to cover it, we tried to switch the name on the guest list to Dean Bein—proprietor of True Panther Sounds, occasional online Interview contributor and general tastemaker—but it was too late to change the name. However, a helpful publicist suggested that Dean borrow Schnipper's ID and try to swindle his way in. Being kinda vaguely Jewish looking guys, it worked. Read about the incredible caper, and the show, via IM interview between the two after the jump.

Matthew Schnipper: Were you nervous to have to pretend to be me?

Dean Bein: Yes I was nervous. I had your business card in my hand and ID in the other. I had also prepared a long-winded spiel about getting Lasik and growing my hair.

MS: But they didn't say anything?

DB: No they just checked me off the list. The guy didn't even really seem to look at the photo.

MS: Sweet. So you were solo at the show, then? Where did you go after that? Were there a ton of people? Seemed super sold out.

DB: Yeah I just rolled up alone, I kind of hovered around the bar for a while and watched Crystal Stilts. It was so deeply sold out, like lines of people waiting outside with umbrellas hoping to buy tickets. I talked to a lady afterwards that paid over $100 for her ticket.

MS: That's crazy. How was Crystal Stilts? Did the crowd like them or pay attention?

DB: Crystal Stilts were really great. The room was actually almost full when they played, and people seemed to be into it. It did feel like a real warmup for the MAIN EVENT, though. It wasn't like any crowd I'd seen there ever, like half industry and half—for lack of a better word—"regular" people really psyched to see Jack White.

MS: Do you think any of them had even heard Dead Weather? Do you think they knew Jack White was the drummer?

DB: I'm not sure if most people heard the band or knew he played drums. It was like a JACK WHITE IS NEXT vibe like, JACK WHITE WILL SWEEP THE STAGE OF BOWERY AND JUGGLE FLAMING SWORDS.

MS: What about Alison Mossheart? She doesn't have the same star power pull?

DB: I don't think from what I could tell, I've been to Kills shows and it was definitely a different crowd.

MS: Different how? Less cool, you know you want to say it.

DB: Ha. Ummm less "underground." I guess I just didn't get the feeling that we were there to see an amazing new band.

MS: That makes sense. So how were they?

DB: Man. Not very good

MS: Why?! I really like the record

DB: The songs are good! But i kept getting this feeling like "if you like real authentic blues, you'll LOVE Blues Hammer." Or if Royal Trux had gotten everything they ever ever ever wanted to realize their full vision of their band
instead of just having shitty guitars and heroin addictions and that's why Royal Trux were awesome.

MS: Because things didn't work out right for them?

DB: No, I think more because they were hungry. Dead Weather felt like a victory lap. Even the $100 ticket lady was bummed but didn't want to admit it because she had invested so much. That said, I don't feel disappointed about going. Those two are actually really spectacular performers—I don't get to see STARS very often. All the pieces felt special but when it was put together it sounded like the winners of Lil Steven's Ultimate Garage Band contest. Have you seen Ghost World?

MS: I have.

DB: I kept thinking about Blues Hammer.

MS: Oh yeah that's what Blues Hammer is I couldn't remember

DB: But it's also their first show. You can't expect them to be a fully realized tight unit. The only real thing you can pay attention to in that instance is the songs. The Kills are so fully realized, but to get into Dead Weather you have to believe that Alison Mossheart is in some American Gothic hellhole. And if you can't believe that it's real and coming from a sincere place then all you have left is Blues Hammer. I'm (pretty) sure I'm not being a hater on principle. I was really really psyched for them. There was a point when Jack played guitar and him and Alison sang into the same microphone and that was really really awesome because it was distilled to the essence of what the project is about, just the two of them. I believe the record totally rules
because it's the product of this insanely focused committed recording process. But then the full band style it didn't feel focused or weird anymore, like the spooky/gritty stuff was harder to believe.

MS: Ah. The record is really spare.

DB: The moments when it felt more like the two of them (like Jack up front singing with Alison) were amazing. I wanted to get really good close up photos but it seemed like everyone pulled really close up during those moments. It was actually "powerful. "Why cant I just type powerful without quotes? It was POWERFUL.

Posted: April 15, 2009
Live: Dead Weather (Featuring Famous People) at Bowery Ballroom