The Stooges were one of the greatest American rock bands of all time. That core team of Iggy Pop along with the Asheton Brothers created a brand new sound that was so thick, dirty and ferocious, it made even the heaviest bands of the 60s sound like Peter Paul and Mary. As a young punk, I devoured the three records they put out in the 60s. Those records are perfection. However, that also meant that I avoided any and all of Pop’s solo material. Sure, if people were dancing to “Lust For Life”, I’d join in, but the little solo material I came across otherwise — “Candy”, “Real Wild Child” — all sounded like over produced parodies of that animalistic beast that was The Stooges.
Fast forward to 2016. I learn that Pop is releasing a so-called “farewell” album. He enlisted Josh Homme, the “too handsome for his own good” mastermind behind Queens of the Stone Age, to produce the album. He then drafted Homme, along with other members of QOTSA and the Arctic Monkeys, as his backing band. With the majority of the Stooges having passed away, I thought that these guys were capable of emulating that sound. I had high hopes for a back to basics, thick and dirty rock record and tour.
I was wrong, but I was wrong in the best way possible.
The record that surfaced is not a Stooges record. Post Pop Depression, as it was titled, is a brilliantly layered piece of work that lands somewhere between Berlin-era Bowie and QOTSA at their most experimental. I went from being excited about the live show as a sweaty, primal punk show to simply wondering to myself, “How the hell are they going to pull this off?”
The Masonic was fully seated for the night of the show, so there was not room for the mosh pit that you’d normally expect when seeing the godfather of punk. Pop’s all star backing band came on stage in matching suits with flames down the side, and dived head first into Iggy’s ode to either heroin or cruise ships, “Lust For Life.” In true Vegas style, Iggy came out about a minute later, dressed in slacks and a suit jacket with no shirt. He performed the song with his signature wild man abandon, although I notice that he had a slight limp happening.
He then pulled out “Sister Midnight,” a vintage slow burner that allowed for Pop to slow down his movement, but also showcased Iggy’s underrated rich baritone. The majority of the set followed suit, with Iggy sounding beautiful, performing these layered, dark, groovy songs that danced between disco and goth club. There were times when you could see three guitars, but none of them sounded like guitars.
No matter how sophisticated the music was, however, you could easily see that Iggy desperately wanted to simply go nuts. And. as soon as that limp subsided, Iggy tore off us jacket and dove straight into the crowd, spending much time with the people. Forever the consummate showman, Iggy continuously reminded us that, no matter how old you are, you can always be an animal.
The set consisted entirely of material off Iggy’s first two solo records, The Idiot and Lust For Life, as well as the new album. In fact, he played almost all three records in their entirety! I understood the nature of his limp, as the show was nearly two hours long, including a six song encore that ended with “Success.” The night proved that Iggy, no matter what form he comes in, is one of the greatest living performers. It will be a shame if this is the actual end to his touring; however, if you are going to go out, you might as well go out on a high note.
Additional photos from the show below. All photos by Oliver Brink.