Iggy and The Stooges
Better Than… your nightly ab workout.
If there was something to be learned from Thursday night's sold out Iggy Pop and The Stooges show, it's that dynamism knows no age. At 64, Pop may not be quite as agile as he once was, but he sure as hell ain't slowing down, and on stage he's as bizarrely captivating as ever.
Before The Stooges made their entrance, the Palladium and its drink lines were swarming with L.A.'s leather clad elite. Openers Le Butcherettes were quickly able to capitalize.
It didn't take long for the trio to capture the attention of the then-near-capacity crowd, thanks in no small part to frontwoman Teri Gender Bender. The petite powerhouse (and dead ringer for The Craft-era Fairuza Balk) appeared in signature punk regalia — stockings, a dollish dress, and an apron covered in blood. She busted some twisted dance moves — high kicks, arm flails, and one purposefully disastrous handstand — and went all sinister operatic on “Dress Off.”
She also danced with and serenaded the top half of a male mannequin. The mix of chaotic theatrics and punky noise rock worked wonders, and likely gained these three youngsters new fans in the process.
Even still, it's tough to hold a candle to Iggy Pop, especially in a room filled with aged punk rockers. The crowd erupted as soon as the house lights went down, and shortly thereafter Pop hit the stage running.
Shirtless and as abnormally ripped as ever, he launched into “Raw Power” without hesitation, jumping and noodling his torso like a tanned fish out of water. It wasn't more than two songs before he was sailing into the crowd. By the fifth he had fans scaling barricades and dodging security guards to join him onstage. And by the time “I Wanna Be Your Dog” hit, the floor's multigenerational circle pit had grown to engulf nearly half the crowd.
A handful of feedback issues aside, The Stooges ripped through the set list like seasoned pros. The highlights, including the punky riffs of “1970,” the the free-jazz feedback of “L.A. Blues,” and the sultry sax intro of “I Need Somebody,” fused effortlessly behind Pop's bigger-than-life persona.
It was the transition between the soulful proto-punk of “Fun House” and the twisted experimentation of “L.A. Blues” that was the most exhilarating. During those few fleeting minutes bassist Mike Watt looked downright giddy as he gyrated against his amp stack, hellbent on busting a few eardrums.
Like any good Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-er, Pop knows how to work a stage, but in the few moments when he did slow down on Thursday his injury-riddled history came into play.
At a slow gate, his hips seem to trail a few seconds behind the rest of him, and a late set trust fall into the audience during “No Fun” actually had me thinking, just for a second, that he might be in trouble. Of course moments later he was back on his feet, swinging the mike like a lasso, whipping off his belt and posing, his black jeans hanging on for dear life. Sure, some of the danger may be gone, but Pop's still a sight to behold, and a wonderfully freakish force to be reckoned with.
The crowd: Guys your mom would disapprove of. That and guys your mom may have dated.
Personal bias: I take great amounts of joy watching old folks slam dance.
Random Notebook Dump: To the gent that got pantsed by security while trying to scale the stage: rage on.
Set list below:
“Search and Destroy”
“Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”
“I Need Somebody”
“Beyond the Law”
“I Got a Right”
“I Wanna Be Your Dog”
“Open Up and Bleed”
“Cock in My Pocket”