The Stooges wasted no time in turning the Fillmore Auditorium into a primitive slash-and-burn dance party on Tuesday night in Denver.
From the get-go deranged lead singer Iggy Pop flailed about, screaming lyrics and looking like an orangutan dipped in battery acid.
Dressed in only a pair of low-riding jeans Pop, who turns 60 on April 21, crawled out from backstage and took control of the entire venue – belting out the words to “Loose” and letting every one know the godfather of punk had arrived.
Following the opening song with three more blasts from the pasts, “Down on the Street,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “T.V. Eye,” only whipped the audience into more of a sweaty frenzy.
Pop flailed about, looking like he was having a seizure while trying to conduct sign language. Breaking into a song from “the Weirdness,” the band’s first album in 34 years, Pop sang “My idea of fun/is killing everyone,” which sounded very eerie and uncomfortable considering the Virginia Tech massacre that occurred the day before.
Known for their brash musical style, the Stooges, and especially Mr. Pop, were way too “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when counter-culture and free love were sweeping the nation. The group released three albums during this time period and lit a fire under the music industry’s ass.
Along with groups like the Velvet Underground, they are considered to be one of the most influential bands of their time. From their jarring wah-wah guitar riffs and uncompromising beats, to Pop’s inclination to perform smeared in blood or peanut butter, the Stooges have carved out a place for themselves in rock ‘n’ roll history.
Everyone from the old guys in way too much leather to the young kids trying to look hip and cool showed up Tuesday night.
During “No Fun” Pop asked audience members to join him and lo-and-behold people immediately began to ascend to the stage, engulfing the area and yelling into the mic whenever they could. Whether it was stage diving, swinging the microphone cord around him like a lasso or humping the speakers Pop had the crowd going berserk all night.
While the old songs – almost everything from “1969” and “Fun House,” but strangely neglecting all tunes from “Raw Power” – packed a visceral punch to the stomach, the new ones sounded like they were being played by some two-bit Stooges cover band from Loveland. And while the group came back for two encores the show was only an hour-and-half long, leaving a lot of people feeling cheated.
Besides Pop, the rest of the group played with a ferocious hunger and kept it the music tight and intense.
Joining the group for the new record and tour is bassist Mike Watt, known for the punk rock group the Minutemen, who banged out bass lines while dressed in what looked like a janitor’s jumpsuit that a Devo fan might wear. The Asheton brothers (Ron on guitar and Scott on drums) were the fierce backbone of the group all night, even if Ron looked like a sluggish Micheal Moore and Scott a sunglasses-at-night version of Ernest P. Worrell.
Staff writer Brian Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.