If your idea of fun is having a leathery, shirtless, 66-year-old man sweat on you, then you needed to be near the stage at (Le) Poisson Rouge for Iggy Pop‘s afternoon public-radio showcase on April 28 with his band The Stooges.
And if that’s not your idea of fun, then you really, really need to see Iggy Pop perform live, and soon.
Iggy & The Stooges played a mix of new songs from Ready to Die, as well as a handful of old favorites. If you weren’t an Iggy Pop fan, you might have had trouble telling them apart, which is a pretty strong compliment for those new songs. Loud, fast, snotty and fun, the band ran through the proto-punk of “Raw Power” and “Fun House” as easily as it played new material like “Ready to Die” and “Job.”
About that band: Original bassist Ron Asheton died a few years back, but Mike Watt, formerly of The Minutemen, is a great replacement. Scott Asheton is on the new disc, but Larry Mullins is the band’s touring drummer. Steve Mackey plays sax, and James Williamson has reunited with Iggy Pop after many years to play guitar. I’ve seen numerous accounts in the press that say it’s the first time Williamson and Pop have worked together in 40 years, since 1973’s Raw Power, but that’s not accurate. They played together on Kill City later in the ’70s, as well as New Values in the early ’80s, but it’s been a while regardless.
Either way, the reunion is clearly working: One of the high points of this concert, a new ballad called “The Departed,” features Williamson on slide guitar and Iggy Pop apparently singing about the late Ron Asheton. At the end of the song, Pop teased the crowd by singing, “Now I wanna…” a couple of times — finally pointing the microphone at the audience, which duly replied with “be your dog.” It was just one instance of Iggy Pop working the crowd; I think he might have tried to marry a couple at the foot of the LPR stage at one point, singing them a NSFW version of the wedding march.
And, of course, Iggy Pop professed his gratitude to public radio on stage — in the process making sure that his stage banter and several of his songs would never make it onto the radio, public or otherwise. “Sex and death,” he told us, were the themes of a major part of the show. But fun — irreverent, youthful, sometimes dangerous fun — is and always has been the focus of Iggy Pop’s career.
- “Ready To Die”
- “Raw Power”
- “Gimme Danger”
- “Sex And Money”
- “Pretty Face”
- “The Departed”
- “Fun House”