"We are the fucking Stooges...
so here the fuck we are!!!!!"
June 3, 2004
Pictures: YELLAIR JAIKIT REPORT ONE
By GARY BARRETT
Well, the day I thought I'd never see has arrived !! Yes,today Glasgow is being
treated to the first UK gig by The Stooges in 32 years,although you wouldn't know it by the poor turnout at this poor excuse for a "Festival".
Also, note that this is THE STOOGES, not as billed "Iggy & the Stooges", and there
are no selctions from "Raw Power", or anything else from the Williamson era being played here or anywhere else for that matter. Them Clear Channel bastards probably billed it as that, thinking they would sell more tickets by adding the word "Iggy" to the poster, in an attempt to appeal to the masses (who probably only know Mr Osterberg from being on the "Trainspotting" soundtrack - but there is a difference).
W e arrived at the venue about 5.20pm; it’s a park area in the centre of
Glasgow, where you wouldn't normally go to in the evening, as it's usually full of bums and junkies.
In we wander, down by the mixing desk to find that there is a nice barrier about 100 yards from the stage and most people are stuck behind it. Thanks a bunch !! No mention of this bullshit in advance of the gig. What The Stooges are doing playing at this festival in the first place - below the likes of Lost Prophets and the fuckin' abysmal Linkin Park - is beyond me. The miserable bastards haven't even provided video screens on either side of the stage, as would be normal for these festivals.
This barrier was there for Metallica the previous night for their pit, but there was no need for it today. Eventually, we managed to gain access to the area in front of the stage - and it was only then the buzz started to happen, some 30 minutes till lift-off at 6.20pm.
Fuck, I can't believe what we are about to witness!! Some whisky and a
smoke, to help the vibes, and we are ready to rock. The anticipation is high, and suddenly, with no bullshit, pomp or anything, I clock Rock Action taking his place behind his kit. Watt's there on the left, Ron at the right, and suddenly Iggy comes bounding on, leaping around the stage like a madman.
There's people beside me asking: "Who's that??" For fuck’s sake, don't you realise what you’re seeing!!!!
..........and we're off into the first number, “Loose”.
YEESSS !!! Then: "Glaswegians,we are the motherfuckin' Stooges" from Ig, and we’re into “Down On The Street”, which roars along very nicely, thanks to
Watt's thunderous bass. By now, Iggy's on top of Watt's bass amp, humping it!! The bogrolls are flying from the crowd, and the Ig says: "Do you want me to wipe my ass?"
Next up, it's “1969", introduced with: “This is a song about a year with a magic number" and then "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (“a song that'll wake you up" - which seems to fall on deaf ears, as most of the crowd seems brain dead. A couple of blood-curdling howls,and a scream of: "Play the fuckin' song" and TV Eye roars into action.
You could feel the menace in the air at this point, and suddenly a bunch of young arseholes, obviously there for the other crap on the bill and who had been standing around like a bunch of spare dicks until this point, decide to get up on each others shoulders and start fuckin' slammin' each other and any other cunt who stood in their way.
I am getting into Ron's guitar, which was sounding amazing at this point, and was lost in the sea of wah-wah, when I almost get flattened when I am hit full force in the chest by one of these pricks who arrives from nowhere. He then received a good bashing with my walking stick. Keep that shit for your crap metal bands, arsehole, or get the fuck out of here! We don't need to be physically assaulted at any gigs, whatsoever.
Shortly after, security came in and ejected a few of these twats,as there was a potential for trouble if it had continued, and also with the possibility that people might have started jumping the barrier.
Then "Dirt" is introduced ("Dirt - fuckin' dirt - is a very important substance") and Ron is squeezing out some fucking great notes, Watt's bass is underpinning it all along with Scott's pounding drums. "Real Cool Time" is next on the agenda, and is followed by "No Fun", prefaced with: "Who wants to get up here on stage and fuck up this festival? Wake Up!!", That’s impossible as the stage is at least 12 feet high and security are in front of it.
"I know where I am - I'm in fuckin' Scotland!.FUCKIN' SCOTLAND!! And we are the fuckin' Stooges - so here the fuck we are".
The Ig then introduces the band members to the audience - and they roar into a pounding version of “1970” – which heralds the arrival of Steve McKay on sax. It then rolls straight on into "Funhouse", which is fuckin' excellent and the volume seems to shift up a notch or two. Watt's solid basslines are pummelling my brain and the mix of Ron's guitar and Steve's sax takes me to places previously only imagined.
"I am You - I am You," shouts Iggy, and it's straight into “Skull Ring”. No
hanging around here !! Then "Dead Rock Star", followed by "Little Electric
Chair", the last of the three newer numbers in the set.
During the end of this number, Iggy points at some little wank in the crowd, who has been noising him up during the gig (I heard someone threw a bottle earlier, but didn't witness it).
"You little asshole - you ugly stupid, futureless little asshole".
Then they're off, but not for long. Iggy returns and continues where he left off.
"I wanna insult your ugly little fuckin' provincial ass.....Get outta here!"
The band then fire into the second version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" ,which is even better, or more intense than the first.
"This is your LAST fuckin' chance to get down and get with it! Thank you! Thank you very much!".
"This is the fuckin last verse - last fuckin' verse you're gonna get from a REAL band at this festival. If you live by the machine - you will die by the machine! Look at me - I'm alive ! I'm alive!”
Then they were gone - but not before Iggy had a farewell gob in the
direction of "Futureless Asshole".
And that was it. Sixty-five minutes of astonishing rock 'n' roll that pissed all over anything else that was on at this festival. Shame that there weren't more Stooges fans there - where were you??
Last time I had a buzz like that at a gig was when Ron and Watt played here
almost three years to the day with J Mascis & The Fog (June 5, 2001). Fuckin' says it all really.
Lets' hope it's not the last we see of them. If you get the chance to see them – go at all costs. And "get down and get fuckin' with it"!! .The Motherfuckin' STOOGES - YEAH !!!
"This is the fuckin' last verse that you're gonna get from a real band at this festival. If you live by the fuckin' machine you will die by the fuckin' machine!"
02 DOWN ON THE STREET
04 I WANNA BE YOUR DOG
05 TV EYE
07 REAL COOL TIME
08 NO FUN
11 SKULL RING
12 DEAD ROCK STAR
13 LITTLE ELECTRIC CHAIR
14 I WANNA BE YOUR DOG
By GRAEME BENT
"We are the fucking Stooges. So, here the fuck we are ...."
Yes indeed and here the fuck they are. Yes, you read right people the Stooges. It's official. Stooges day is here at last. Yes, the gig nobody thought would ever happen - the Stooges' first UK show for a colossal 32 years since their landmark sole European live outing at London's Scala cinema in 1972 is finally upon us - and who would have believed that when it happened the historic event would take place on Glasgow Green of all places. If even a few years ago anyone had floated the idea of an (almost) fully reassembled Stooges as a major concert attraction they'd have been laughed off the block as deluded daydreamers.
So before we go any further let's pause for a second and reflect how all this came about. Three years ago the first steps along the yellow brick road that's led to this unlikeliest of reunions was taken by Ron Asheton when he guested on a string of UK dates with J Mascis & the Fog (who just happened to include in their ranks one Mike Watt) for a set-closing run through a handful of Stooges covers. Eventually Ron's younger brother and fellow Stooge Scott Asheton was persuaded to get in on the act and suddently J Mascis & the Fog had become Asheton, Asheton, Mascis & Watt and were playing their way through a full blown Stooges tribute set.
All that now stood in the way of a bona fide Stooges reunion now was whether Iggy himself would decide to get involved and the final piece of the jigsaw duly fell into place when the resurrected Stooges made their debut at California's Coachella festival in April 2003. And yes, it's a mighty long way from Coachella to Glasgow Green and it's a road that's been travelled with a select list of stop-off points en route including Detroit, New York, ATP at Long Beach, New Orleans, commando raid festival appearances in France and Spain and now Glasgow Green where they find themselves marooned as 'very special guests' on a proverbial bill from hell comprising Machine Head, the Distillers, the Lost Prophets and Linkin P***.
Alas, either the Scottish Chapter of the Stooges Appreciation Society haven't woken up to the momentousness of the occasion, were sufficiently turned off by the bill, or it's the small matter of the killer £43 day ticket price that's kept them away from being part of something rather special.
Come to think of it, it's not only the Stooges crowd that are conspicuous by their absence.
The whole second day of the much publicised Download festival looks for all the world like an event in search of a crowd, such are the wide open expanses of Glasgow Green visible within the festival site. After the Distllers have limped their way through a tame set that fails to register anything beyond the most cursory of response from the predominantly nu-metal crowd, it's time for the stage crew to get busy and the countdown to zero hour begins in earnest. A double Marshall guitar stack, a double Ampegbass rig, a four piece drum kit and a single vocal mike - that and 10 tons of attitude refined from a lifetime's fear and loathing is all it takes to make the hellish beauty that is rock according to the Stooges. Nothing more. Nothing less. Then, at approximately 6.20pm with no intro, no build up, no nothing, Stoogeti arrives and almost catches even the most hardcore foot soldiers unawares as Mike Watt stride purposefully onstage, bass in hand. A quick glance to the right reveals Ron Asheton ready to roll in front of his Marshall stack as Scott 'Rock Action' Asheton clambers behind his drum kit and suddenly there's Iggy - a blur of denim, tan skin and blonde locks - all wound up and ready to play as he bounces around the stage like a fighter limbering up before the start of a title bout. In a matter of seconds it's all going off as the opening bars of the calamitous rush of sound that is "Loose" snarl menacingly into life and suddenly we're finally off and running.
Surreal it may be, absurd even, but this is no daydream, the Stooges are rocking Glasgow Green with the sound of reality in overload on a Thursday teatime in the sunshine and what a sight it is ....
Early on, Rock Action looks completely spooked as he tries to stay in time with his band mates like a man clinging on to the back of a speeding truck. Mike Watt meanwhile is completely lost in the moment, working overtime with 'the thud staff' to bring a Herculean undertow to the bottom end of the sound, while stage left the battle jacket-clad Ron Asheton couldn't look more at ease as he grinds out a wailing wall of filthy buzzsaw buzzsaw guitar.
Then there's Iggy ..... The hardest working man in punk rock and the world's original leather man now a mindboggling eight years away from picking up his bus pass flashing king size smiles and gleefully announcing "We're the Stooges and we're happy to be here, hell, we're happy to be anywhere." And so they are.
Despite finding themselves billed here there and everywhere as 'Iggy & The Stooges' this is in fact 'the motherfuckin' Stooges' as Iggy never tires of reminding all who care to listen throughout the show. It's a subtle but not insignificant difference. With no 'Strait' James Williamson on hand this means is the set is almost exclisively drawn from the first two Stooges albums with no selections from the "Raw Power" era being aired. But back to the front. "Loose" breathlessly gives way to the chugging belligerence of "Down On The Street" before the Ig introduces "1969" as "a song about a year with a magic number".
It's only takes three songs for Iggy to suss this is far from anything even vaguely resembling your regular Stooges or Iggy crowd. During the preamble to the first of two spectacular versions of "I Wanna Be Your Dog", he makes his feelings clear on the subject when he snarls: "I'm gonna do an animal motherfuckin' song and it'll wake you up!"
Sadly, it doesn't wake anybody who isn't already dangerously hyper but what the hell, the Stooges just continue careering through their repertoire of classics regardless. "TV Eye" ("Watch TV for a fuckin' minute and die! Fuckin' die !Is that it? Is that it?" ), "Dirt" ( "If it isn't Scotch tape it's crap. Dirt is a very important substance' ) and 'Real Cool Time' are all delivered with extreme prejudice before Iggy slips into the role of chief mischief maker-cum-riot starter when he asks: 'How many of you
want to come up here and fuck up this festival? - 'No Fun' .... "
So, being as the crowd can't come to Iggy, Iggy goes to the crowd as he takes an impromptu stroll along the length of the photo pit. Tossing aside mike stands like a matador toying with his cape, clambering atop the amps, stalking the stage like a wired loon and staring out the crowd with a catalogue of long gone facial expressions, Iggy is his usual irresistbly magnetic self.
As we hit second half of the show and an unannounced Steven Mackay - the Stooges tenor sax man from the "Funhouse" days - appears to take his place alongside Ron Asheton for the remainder of the set the band crash malevolently into "1970" and "Funhouse", prefaced by Iggy's warning: "This is where it gets mean - this is the music!" How right he is.
There's a tangible hint of brooding malice in the air as the the band kick and stomp their way though the near free form frenzy that is "Funhouse" - a brutalised blue collar take on the funkiness of James Brown - which comes punctuated with Iggy's cries of "hey, take it down" and ends with him chanting, "I am you, I am you. I am you, I am you" as he points menacingly at selected faces in the crowd. Then it's a gear crashing rush through a closing trio of new Stooges songs hauled from Iggy's latest long player. "Skull Ring", "Dead Rock Star" and "Little Electric Chair" all pass without major incident - that is until the Ig decides to single out one prize asshole who's been giving him some stick right under his nose during the wind down of "Little Electric Chair".
"You little asshole, you ugly stupid futureless little asshole," he tells him before biding Scotland good night and reminding one and all once again "we are the Stooges". End of show.
Well, not quite because in reality it's only beginning of the end proper ....
After the briefest of pauses Iggy, Ron, Rock and Mike return to wrap things up for real. And for Iggy that means taking some more well aimed pot shots at the unworthy hordes of nu-metal zombies.
'I want to insult your ugly little fuckin' provincial ass," he says to the forementioned "ugly stupid futureless asshole " before bending over and presenting him an eyefull of denim clad butt. But Iggy's not done yet. "You're really good back there. Are those the cheap seats ?" he asks the main body of the crowd, separated as they are from the stage by a bizarre enclosure arrangement reserved for the lucky first 2000 bods through the gates. "Why don't you fuckin' invade this part?" he asks them before turning his attention to those immediately in front of him.
"You're cool, you're not, You're cool, you're not. You're very cool, you're so-so. You're super cool, I'm not sure about you ....
"This is your last fuckin' chance to get down and get with it'.
And so we hit "I Wanna Be Your Dog" for the last time during which Iggy sprays yet more verbal lead in the direction of the crowd and a certain un-named headline act.
"You little bastard turd - you're waiting for some asshole band that plays with fuckin' machines.... This is the fuckin' last verse. This is the fuckin' last verse that you're gonna get from a real band at this festival. If you live
by the fuckin' machine you will die by the fuckin' machine. Look at me because I'm alive. I am alive ! I am alive !"
"I Wanna Be Your Dog" crashes and burns its way to a magnificent finale - and it's got to be said, all-out nihilism has never tasted so damn sweet.
Inevitably Iggy is the last to leave the stage though not before returning to lob an indignant farewell gob in the direction of the by now infamous 'ugly stupid futureless asshole' who so dramatically caught his eye. Then, right on the stroke of 7.25pm he's gone and the Stooges first gig on British soil for 32 years is over.
Shame it had to have been in front of the wrong crowd and at the wrong festival. And talking of which - what the hell were the Stooges doing on the bill of a festival backed by those friends of free speech - the benevolent all seeing, all hearing Clear Channel Entertainment Corporation anyway? But maybe that's another story for another time ....
For the moment, it's time to trip on the magic that remains the Stooges and look forward to the next time they'll be back in the UK - hopefully touring to promote their rumoured forthcoming Rick Rubin-produced album.
Yes, they are and they always will be - the motherfuckin' Stooges......
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