Iggy says: "Gimme some skin."
IGGY & THE STOOGES
BEASTS OF BOURBON
Hordern Pavillion, Sydney
Tuesday, March 2, 2013
Words: BOB SHORT
Photos: CHARLOTTE REGAN
Well this could be the last time. This could be the last time. Maybe the last time. I don’t know.
It seems absurd to be reviewing Iggy again. What am I going to say that I haven’t said before? Of course he was great. Fuck. He made great look positively mediocre. Even Stuart Coupe got off his alt country horse and admitted to being blown away.
Myself, I had decided not to hit the mosh pit. The Hordern was full but not brimming. I went off to the side and found myself a place to just dance because the Stooges are a great dance band. Most people think of them as some kind of metal hard beast monsters and miss the point entirely. (Yes, Tex. I’m looking at you.)
The Stooges were and are dictionary definition funky. You can wear out your best pair of dancing shoes to the beat of the living dead. I didn’t take my camera out. I didn’t take a pen and pad. I just wanted to burn this one into the back of my brain. Because, you know, all good things have got to come to an end and when the house is burning down you either dance or you cry.
Iggy’s got a noticeable limp but he’s still stage diving the audience like this is Pearl Harbour. He’s nearly 66 and counting and by the time this world tour comes to an end, he’s going to need a sit down and those bones are going to ache. Man. They’re gonna have to ache after what he puts them through. That chair is going to be just that bit more comfy and that cushion is going to sink a little deeper. And hell. There are easier things for a man to do for a living than swan dive repeatedly into the sixth row of punters.
And here’s the thing. There is no whimper going on with this bang. This is top drawer. There’s no soft option. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve seen Iggy do his thing. This was the best performance I have seen from him. Read that last sentence again and weep. That five foot two man is not gonna let anyone forget his name. So, when Robert Brokenmouth demanded a review, I said hell yeah and here we go.
I know some of you like being slammed in the face repeatedly with a sledge hammer. For you the night began with the Beasts of Bourbon. Fortunately, there were so many familiar faces out in the foyer equally feeling no need to rush the stage that I did not feel so all alone. Besides, the only actual bourbon on sale was a crappy premix in a can and they wanted you to pour that into a plastic cup before you could wander in and be pummelled by beasts. I’m sorry. I have standards.
The internet had been a buzz with all the stay homes telling us why they want to spend the night watching celebrity cooking shows rather than make the effort of replacing slippers with shoes. It’s not the Stooges without Ron Ashton. It’s not the Stooges without Rock Action. Face meet palm. James fucking Williamson. The world’s greatest bar none shredder of strings. He might stand like a statue but he’ll put blisters on your ear drums.
And if you thought he was on form two years ago... my god. The treble hits eleven and the razor slash is tipped in venom. You know he’ll do the business on the Raw Power stuff but he fearlessly dives into the avant garde of Funhouse/L.A Blues and the man machine breaks on through to the other side. He takes the wah wah pedal walking and you don’t need me talking any useless string of adjectives.
Now, Scott Ashton off the stool is a bit of a blow but I have no trouble with his replacement. Toby Dammit managed to mirror Ashton on the Raw Power cuts, improve on the Kill City cuts but maybe took some of the first two album songs a little too full on. Small criticism when, as a unit, the band locked it together like some huge shambling juggernaut and set the controls straight for the heart of the real o-mind. Mike Watt's was the hugest dark rumble ever to fill a concert hall. Steve Mackay’s thrills and spills were well placed and not as overbearing in the mix as they had been on the last tour. He almost stole the show with the sax solo in 1970.
The thing is, no-one steals the show from Iggy Pop. Iggy gave a great vocal performance; the kind of wide vocal performance he used to do before the Bowie led solo albums. It also felt nice to have Iggy back. Last few shows he’s been all smiling and thank you and I love you. Nice to have the return of some playful audience baiting and general sliming.
For all you anal retentives out there, from Raw Power you got “Search and Destroy”, “Gimme Danger” “Penetration” “Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell” and “Raw Power”. You got Side two of Funhouse. You got “Dog” and “Fun” off the first album. “Kill City”, “Joanna”, “Beyond the Law” and “Night’s Theme” off of Kill City. “Open up and Bleed”, “I got a right”, “Cock in my Pocket” and some opening bars from “Skull Ring” made appearance. You jealous, ocksuckers?
From the forthcoming album we heard “Burn” and “Gun”. Both gave every indication that “Ready To Die” will find a place in the turntable of your heart. The night ended with Mr Pop chucking us a low-rider brown eye to a wail of feedback and the rolling thunder of the rhythm section. We may never see their like again. To all of you who made excuses... that’s your tough shit.