Live Music + Gig Reviews

Iggy And The Stooges @ Hammersmith Apollo, London

30 August 2005

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

M’lud, they say the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle leads to an early grave. But, if it would please the court, I give you the case of one James Newell Osterburg of Ann Arbor, Michigan, more familiar to the masses as one Iggy Pop, who contradicts said homily. Born 1947, there are many, with good reason, who thought he would never make it past 1970.

Many thought the same of his partners in grime, initially known as The Psychedelic Stooges, then truncated to just simply The Stooges. Indeed, one such Stooge, David Alexander did come to an unfortunate end, some time before the legend of said Stooges came to be feted through lands near and far.

As for Mr Pop and original Stooges Scott and Ron Asheton, they have reunited after a fallow period in advance of thirty years. Prowling the land once more, they came to London’s Hammersmith Apollo and did fuse snorty lust into the basest metal. Base it may be, but it has proved to be a hardy element, its unstable molecular structure still glowing with atom-splitting potential after all these years. Half-life doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

As much driven by the mechanised sounds from Henry Ford’s Detroit pressing plant as jazz, blues and ‘the British invasion’, The Stooges managed to record three-long playing albums before the symptoms of LA Blues, that of infamy and indulgence, saw the end of a once gloriously chaotically cohesive unit. The second of such efforts, that of Fun House came to be celebrated in West London this Summer’s end, up from the panicky grit ‘n’ bluster of Down On The Street through to the firehouse blare of those LA Blues.

And here, m’lud, is the damning evidence: that despite commonly held opinion, rock ‘n’ roll in its most raw of forms can fortify the individual into the rudest of all possible health. Mr Pop may stalk the stage like a turkey on steroids squawking round a zombie birdhouse, but it be the most muscular of all fouls.

With chest bared proudly, and the tightest pants seen since the last performance of the Nutcracker suite, Iggy rose again and again from the Metallic TKO. As his pants drooped lower and lower around his builder’s bum, the manic rabble annexed the stage. But this was no foul inquisition: all praised the Emperor Gluteus Maximus.

Once hornblower Steve Mackay dropped in for 1970, the noise fair blew these Igs into space, turning Fun House’s most mannered effort into scorched, two-chorded apocalyptic testimony. With Mackay in tow, there was no turning back. Hammering through I Wanna Be Your Dog, Baby Doll and Skull Ring, Mr Pop’s animal energy waned not.

So it is I ask the jury to consider this Mr Pop, a man of just 58 years. A man who once cut himself with glass just to give an audience voyeuristic kicks, a man who retired to a decadent Berlin to get away from chemical temptation, and here he is. It is my belief that Mr Pop is in possession of the elixir of life, shooting in pulses through his veins. Good people, for evidence merely glance at any of Mr Pop’s contemporaries. A dustman perhaps, an MP, or even, if the court permits it, a judge.

And the gig? M’lud, on my oath, it were mental.

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