Iggy And The Stooges

Iggy And The Stooges

with Beasts Of Bourbon

Grey haired men in jeans and tees flail their limbs wildly next to lost looking teenage boys and middle aged suit wearers; two women make out with one another nearby. As a 23 year old female, I thought I’d be a minority. But, no one is here, because this crowd defines nonconformity. We are all punk, in an unfashionable way. We are a microcosm of the band we’re all here to see – Iggy and the Stooges.

Once upon a time, the crowd at an Iggy and The Stooges gig would’ve been riotous. There would’ve been arrests. Not anymore. Now, the police stand in the crowd, casually chatting amongst themselves.

Collecting his tickets before us, is Mick Harvey from The Birthday Party. We catch a glimpse of The Scientist's Boris Sujdovic, and spot The Hoodoo Gurus' Dave Faulkner. It seems like the majority of Australia's 80's music scene is here to pay tribute.

Some bourbon gets better with age, while others you're better off drinking straight away. The Beasts of Bourbon are the latter.

They haven't aged gracefully, and while they were great in their heyday, they don't really have much to offer a modern crowd. Tex Perkins wails through opener 'Chase The Dragon' looking like he’s rolled his way from a sticky pub floor onto the stage. The Beasts haven't changed their style much musically over the years, but they are a perfect fit for this audience. What may have been shocking and exciting in their prime now comes across, at best, as nostalgic and, at worst, outdated. If the Beasts achieved anything here, it's to prove how timeless Iggy and his Stooges actually are.

Iggy Pop is like an alien. His wrinkled and drug-ravaged body should be grotesque, but he is so other-worldly, that watching him writhe and pirouette across the stage is mesmerising.

The band begin by tearing through 'Raw Power' and follow up with 'Gimme Danger.' Iggy is an absolute maniac, and for a 66 year old, his energy and strength of voice is remarkable - in fact, he doesn't receive nearly enough credit for his technically impressive vocals. The Stooges all appear to be more suitably middle-aged, and stand around playing their instruments in a mild-mannered way. That’s not to say they don't absolutely kill it - their sound is tight and the audience is treated to a blistering wall of sound the entire set. James Williamson delivers snarling guitar riffs, and Steve Mackay's saxophone tears and weaves in and out of the other instruments.

Several new songs are played from their forthcoming album, prefaced by Iggy jesting: "It's called Ready To Die, because I am." 'Burn' and 'Gun' are classic Stooges fare, and live up to anything they would have recorded in 1970.
Iggy takes several leaps from the stage into the crowd- no mean feat for a man half his age and, given the chasm between stage and audience, a fucking crazy thing to do.

Classic tracks are what everyone came to see, and we aren't let down. The band rip through '1970,' a killer rendition of 'Search and Destroy' and a highly charged 'I Wanna Be Your Dog.' In a classic Iggy move, he brings what seems like half the audience up on stage for 'Funhouse.' The set ends with 'No Fun,' to rapturous cheers, as middle-aged women struggle out of the mosh pit, which is surprisingly manic given the median age of the crowd.
For the encore, we are treated to 'Penetration', and an energetic 'Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell.' Then it all ends with 'Open Up And Bleed.' Iggy proclaims: "It's time for me to go fuck a kangaroo, I'm gonna go throw my penis on the barbie," as mode of farewell.

Endlessly entertaining and at times bitingly hilarious, Iggy and the Stooges were spectacular. The years between their reunification and sobriety are a blessing, as the Stooges are now consummate professionals in a primal and primitive sort of way.

Their 70's performances might have featured an incoherent Iggy stumbling around stage. Now the perfect front man, his ability to project his manic energy onto the entire Hordern Pavilion is something that many before him have tried, but failed to do. I can only hope that I'm as awesome as Iggy, when I'm well into my sixties.
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