Ya hafta face it: punk began with James Osterberg—aka Iggy Pop, then Iggy Stooge, but the correct stage surname is 'Pop'—and in all likelihood will end with him as well, given the way things have gone and are still going. The MC5 may've been a buncha anarchic mutts but they weren't really punks, more like anarchist biker flophouse hippies, while Ig's the real deal. The punkers themselves flamed out just like the hippies before them, but Iggy's still going strong at the age of…oh holy Christ, is that right? 63 years old in 2010?!?! You'd swear he was 25 by the way the wildman still prowls the stage and belts things out. No doubt about it, Iggy's one of rock and roll's few true originals and remains among the most outrageous.
Happily joining in with the 'Legends' re-issuing trend that music hounds go apeshit over, the band has been treated to an explosion of re-release double discs crammed with bonus cuts as well all kinds of concurrent other goodies in CDs, DVDs, tons of bootlegs, and God only knows what else. This new era of Stooge mania is the third or fourth since the group's birth in 1967, and little has changed. A few songs into the concert, Iggy announces he wants the freaks and spazzers to come up on stage and dance, something groups like Ministry would never do (I mean, catch In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up, an unbelievably killer concert, but what's with the Texas Death Match chicken wire policing the audience, guys?!?!), and you can almost hear venue-owner and promoter heads exploding backstage while the bouncers gulp and sweat. But none may deny the Savage God, and, sure enough, about two dozen climb up and St. Vitus Dance like epileptics and thorazine cases, keeping the anarchy factor high. Osterberg has always been known for his unpredictability, and this occasion was no exception as the band behind him grinds out the insistently naked psychedelia and thudblonk of the repertoire, manic as hell.
Another wrinkle: Iggy has ever given his all for the fans 'cause underneath that artfully psychotic but aesthetically genuine exterior beats the heart of a pussycat -- okay, an ocelot actually and from another era, but anyone who has ever met him, myself included, well proclaims his affable ways—so six fans were invited to man (and woman!) the filming of the gig, and it turns out the bastards did a great job, capturing the franticity and primal ooze of everything. Then, of course, as the glass eye watches, Ig more than once swims into the crowd fearlessly, at one with the sea of celebrants. When Oscar Wilde coined the phrase "feasting with panthers", he was rolling with the Iggies of his day, at a loss to be able to lump 'em in with any known pack 'cause some people just can't be categorized. Then, after the concert, the interviews and other materials demonstrate what a down-to-earth guy we're really dealing with—even, dare I say it?, erudite. I'm not joking: The Stooges started out as a Coltrane/Partch/electronica combo before they landed on vinyl, and Iggy isn't just mouthing platitudes when he talks about his art and its history; he knows what's what.
Live: In the Hands gives you the entire Raw Power LP and then a long menu of other songs mostly from the early days, but when the band hits I Wanna be your Dog and No Fun, lord lord lord, that's THE quintessential Stooge material, and rough angels practically tear through the ceiling, down from heaven to try to get it right once more. "It's one big sweat box!" shouts Osterberg, and he ain't kiddin'. Getting down in the proletarian muck has rarely been so exhilarating, and if that prospect doesn't warm the cockles of your loins, then you'd best be walking down to Wal-Mart, picking up Yanni Live at the Acropolis, eating mush, and sleeping in gelatin, 'cause the real world isn't the place for you. On the other hand, this DVD will probably cause brain lesions in the crania of card-carrying Young Republicans, and, mother of mercy, we can't have that…
…or can we?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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