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Coachella 2010: Dead Weather's desert destruction and a collision course of Tiesto fans

April 18, 2010 | 11:36 am

Dead Weather There's no safety zone with a band like Dead Weather. Jack White's latest outfit is not interested in providing shelter in the storm. Instead, they only want to kick you into the maelstrom and leave you out there for good. The crowd was ready to embrace the feverish lightning: For the closing slot at the outdoor stage, they kept piling up, resulting in one of the biggest outdoor stage crowds I can remember.

Dead Weather played plenty of scorching-blues exorcisms from their upcoming record, "Sea of Cowards," but one of the strongest showings came with their single "Die by the Drop." Guitarist Dean Fertita pounced and twisted the knife; Alison Mosshart, whom White rightly introduced as Baby Ruthless, staggered around like a woman who'd just taken a gut shot; Jack Lawrence swept through with nasty, stalker bass lines; and of course there was White himself, playing the drums like they'd killed his mother.

There was a touch of bad timing at the end -- just as Dead Weather started to downshift into more jammy territory, the pulsating beats of Tiesto overwhelmed. Hmmm, wonder how Jack White felt about that.

Cutting through the Tiesto crowd was not for the fainthearted: Every chemically manufactured high or low, every level of participation possible -- from passed out on the smashed grass to dancing like a Whirling Dervish -- was represented. And the sheer numbers alone -- the crowd seemed to stretch on for miles, and after a while, it became apparent that the best strategy to get through was to swerve and dive like a boot-camp soldier running an obstacle course. I nearly toppled to the ground when I crashed into a girl with a mohawk, mullet and side ponytail. Hey, I totally get it -- who wants to choose when you can have all three hairstyles?

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: Allison Mosshart and Jack White of Dead Weather at Coachella on April 17, 2010. Credit:  Karl Walter / Getty Images