Iggy and the Stooges: Yoko Ono’s Meltdown – South Bank Centre, London 20th June 2013

At the end of tonight’s 90 minute tour-de-force of pure, speeding adrenalin, Iggy stands stage left, slouched to one side, eyeing his audience with a wicked grin as his hand heads down to inside his pants. “Yeah I got one” he smirks as Cock in My Pocket’ kicks in and the delirious crowd go mental.

Seated gigs can be stuffy, staid affairs but not tonight, not a single minute. And no-one’s sitting. Half the audience are on stage at times. Since Iggy reformed The Stooges in 2003, his solo back catalogue has been forgotten. This is no nostalgia vehicle for the seminal front man, no shoehorning of Lust for Life’ or The Passenger’. This is pure raw power. After losing guitarist Ron Asheton in 2009 then reuniting with original guitarist James Williamson, The Stooges show no sign of letting up. Tonight is as much about recent albums The Weirdness and Ready To Die as it is about Funhouse or ‘the hits’ (that never were).  Sure we get Gimme Danger’, Search and Destroy’ and an incendiary, evil I Wanna be Your Dog’. But it’s the light and shade of the newer material that seems to thrill the band and the integration into the back catalogue is seamless. Iggy is on amazing form – bouncing, squealing and grinning like an excited puppy on heat – Mike Watt looks like he’s rediscovered his 13 year old air guitar-toting self as he grimaces and attacks his bass with menace. Williamson may dress like he still works at Microsoft but the noises he extracts from his guitar is nothing short of miraculous. And let’s not forget original saxophonist Steve Mackay who honks, screeches, grunts and out-weirds the other four with his sonic otherness and mesmeric feedback. Sex and Money’ and Open Up and Bleed’ are pure white riot, and then Iggy informs us that Louie Louie’ is actually a cha-cha. It’s that kind of night.

As older artists such as Dylan, Patti and Bowie continue to grow old gracefully, it’s The Stooges who provide the visceral thrills and spills, the pure rock ‘n’ roll, the sense of danger which the others cannot provide. I Gotta Right? You sure have Iggy. You sure have.

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