Mr. Pop & the Stooges – NYC, April 9, United Palace Theatre

The Living Sinew, Iggy Pop, and the Stooges made the United Palace SCREAM on Monday night. My companion the inimitable Millerman and I were up in the freakin’ rafters, but it was the LOUDEST show we’ve heard in years, literally. My ears hurt today. A lot.

Iggy was incandescent; I am deaf. Hmm.

He opened with “Loose” and got “I Wanna Be Your Dog” out of the way by the 3rd song. He leapt and writhed, shirtless in his spray-on rayon denim, same as it ever was. That man is built like a snake — but tan and lithe as he is, the binoculars revealed – gasp – more than a bit of loose flesh around the waist. The hint of decay worked for him.

“1969” saw the denim unbuttoned and some very carefully orchestrated writhes as the denim slipped. Strategically placed twirl and slippage near the last 20 seconds of the song; ALAS, I glimpsed the hairy man root of him.

G-A-A-A-A-C-C-C-K-K-K!!!!!! Iggy! You’re SIXTY YEARS OLD already. Millerman averted his eyes in time.

The band was the Asheton bros on guitar and drums – the original Stooges, minus the deceased Dave Alexander, plus Mike Watt (Minutemen, fireHOSE – all praise DIY – he was resplendent in a plain darkblue jumpsuit – like you’d see on the guy who rotates yr tires) on bass. And original horn Steve Mackay showed up about halfway thru, on a snarly, dirty, bleating sax. The band produced all-out punky-metal assualt with one tempo – fast – and one tone – loud – for 1 hr. 30 mins of ear-splitting tunage.

The rest of the crowd probably had less trouble w/it than me and Millerman – they just turned their hearing aids off. Seldom have I felt so young lately in a NYC concert crowd. But in general, the sound was more ‘n a bit muddy.

Show included a lot of songs from “Fun House”; stuff from the first record of course, “Dirt,” “Down in the Street”; some bits from Skullring, and some stuff in the encores from the merely serviceable The Weirdness, the most recent CD — “Electric Chair,” “I’m Fried.”(oh I get it. haha.) Just as at the Garage Fest at Randall’s Island two years ago, Iggy called all onstage for a mass writhefest during “No Fun” – the bouncers were brutal on those loathe to leave. Bastards. I knew at least one of the people onstage – go Jimmy! You Rock.

“Fun House” the song featured Iggy at top o’ his form, hollering at the end, “I’m sick. All the time. I’m you” while Mike Watt dropped the bass, and as it swung from his shoulders, turned spreadeagle w/his hands on top of the sixteen-woofer speaker behind him, and proceeded to fuck it. Or his guitar did, anyway.

There is no one like Iggy. There are lots who want to look like him – he kinda defined a certain sinewy gristly lead singer sickness. But it’s odd to see him now.

Hence the blog title: Does it make any sense to call Iggy “Mr. Pop”? Like he’s pop music?!

Weren’t the Stooges all about raw primitive punk? Aren’t they cited by every young historian of the movement as seminal proto-punks, along with Stiv Bators, etc.? I’ve seen recent movies and read quite a few books claiming the Stooges and even the MC5 as “real” punk, even before the Ramones, portrayed by would-be Lester Bangs as the total opposite to manufactured groups like Malcolm McLaren’s carefully crafted Sex Pistols. Yes, it seems the historically accepted conclusion (this year, anyway) is that the brutal economic realities facing young James Osterman in Ann Arbor, MI (okay, we all know that’s his name!) plus a very twisted personality, gave rise to Iggy Pop.

WhatEVER. Too much historical commentary lately; too many labels; too many rewrites and revisions of stuff I remember myself.

So, is Iggy Pop’s music now pop? Hell yeah!

“Lust for Life” was the theme song for a cruise line commercial, after all.


3 thoughts on “Mr. Pop & the Stooges – NYC, April 9, United Palace Theatre

  1. A co-worker passed this commentary on –

    Veteran rock journalist Nick Kent has laid into Lou Reed, calling him “completely ugly” and “repugnant”. With the pub lit in green, creating a panto villain feel, the journalist who notably worked for NME throughout the 1970s – drew nervous chortles as he launched an impressive verbal attack on Lou Reed, Queen and even his old pal Iggy Pop, suggesting some old wounds have still yet to heal.

    “Iggy Pop’s new album is basically a 60-year-old man singing about his cock,” he declared. “And that is more information than I require. I’ve told him, ‘Why do you have to get your cock out on stage?’ Soon he’s going to be like Hugh Hefner, a walking advertisement for Viagra.”

  2. My only gripe about the show was the volume. Hate to sound old (and thankfully, I skewed young in our crowd as well), but seeing as the band was amazingly tight (as was Iggy himself) and sounded better than on most recordings I have. It seemed to me that the volume was amped up about two knotches too much. It was just a little too loud for my aural comfort. I knowwwwww it’s supposed to be an assault and all, but it was a little too.

    A music biz friend told me that that is just Iggy and the way he likes it… ear splitting treble. Still, as we say in Boston, it was wicked awesome.

    Would it be blasphemous to also hope for a secondary tour where he plays his more “poppy” hits?

  3. OsterBERG. That’s OsterBERG.

    Hmm….is the Igster a lanzman?

    Well, I guess you’d know, El, you had the binoculars…

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