Live Music + Gig Reviews

Iggy Pop @ Brixton Academy, London

13 July 2002

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

A man leaps onto the stage at Brixton Academy without fanfare. Lights dim, the crowd screams and Iggy Pop is with us.

The first couple of songs are relatively new, from Mask and Beat ‘Em Up to some contemporary ones I don’t recognise. As it’s a lunge into a more metal arena, with almost prog-rock guitar solos, power chords and much screaming, the crowd seem dubious and throw quizzical glances at each other.

Predictably, it’s his return to the ’70s and ’80s classics that gives this audience a reason to scream, and surge and reach for this man of talent. Not to mention the primed body that just has no business on a man of his age.

Passenger and I Wanna Be Your Dog are both tight and heaving, Iggy diving from one end of the stage to another, his attention on everyone, his voice powerful, his feet lashing out and connecting with the heads of various security men around the pit.

After I Wanna Be Your Dog, Iggy throws himself into the crowd and like the rest of these demented fans I reach up for a piece and grab a hold of… HIS COCK!! It is large and I am afraid.

And the show continues in this vein (no pun intended).

Just before the last song, before encore and pretty much the only time he talks to us he says “I fucking challenge you!!! Get the fuck up here!”, an almost angry look on his face.

Many oblige. One girl, once up on stage, immediately begins to strip. All the way. Everything off. She trips over the jeans and knickers wrapped around her ankles and is pulled up by the guitarist who kisses her and props her up on the drum podium. Iggy is busy hugging and hand shaking everyone who wants him to, ignoring the naked waif running up and down the stage. He’s not fucking around. He’s here to rock and give us as good a time as he can. The girl is quickly carried off stage by security, leaving her clothes in piles around the stage.

Home is beautiful and a respite from the thrusting (almost) metal and the vintage drug-addled, pubescent, but strangely dark and adult music we all know and love.

But you can see why he chose a band like Pitchshifter as support. His current leanings toward Metal are undoubtedly viewed by most as shit, but he knows why we love him and why he has become such an establishment figure within music and I guess he figures we won’t abandon him. So let him delve new avenues and remember: this man has digested enough drugs to kill an average human being. He may have lost a little of what made him but he’s still a valid musician.

So. Crazy man, crazy show. Bending and contorting his body like an epileptic monkey. Bending and contorting simple riffs and hooks into wonderfully melancholic yet fun patterns of music – a manic-depressive construct of sound.

After the show the departing crowd get to watch a fight between a mohawked punk and four raggas. The raggas tried to run the punk over. The punk punched in their windscreen. They beat the fuck out of him. The punk gets away while they tool up with car-jacks and wrenches from the boot of their car. Finding no punk they drive away, knocking another pedestrian to the ground and leaving burnt rubber tyre tracks in the road.

The pedestrian picks himself up, dusts himself down and buys a beer from a roadside vendor.

It seems a fitting end to the night’s show.

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