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Iggy Pop

The Orpheum

April 11, 2016


Boom Boom Bap Ba Boom Boom Ba Bap Bap. Boom Boom Bap Ba Boom Boom Ba Bap Bap. Here comes Johnny Yen again… All rise. The packed house complies in an instant and don’t sit for the rest of the night. It doesn’t matter if Iggy fronts the raw and ripped latter day incarnations of the Stooges or their more polished Iggy Pop doppleganger. The man is genetically incapable of doing a duff show.

The band is distinctive if a wee bit tame. Two Queens of the Stone Age - including Josh Homme, and Dean Fertita in addition to Artic Monkey Matt Helders on drums. They switch off on background vocals and instruments. They salt the soup with steel drum and a pipe like a bell. The synthed-up keys add occasional ambience and don’t detract. The red sequined and black lapel smoking jackets look snazzy especially when the giraffe-like Homme and bass player Matt Sweeney do a some low end, dance with the stars, dip and shimmy. The stage is minimal - a simple floor to ceiling walkway bisects the backdrop. The drummer, up high and to the right, breaks the lines and keeps the eye's interest. The lights are a subtle, shifting wash. The band’s strengths reminded me of the recent incarnations of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds: Sophisticated and empathetic, tremendous, sinuous bass, crack syncopated drum riffs and a turbo button marked 11 albeit on the clean channel and somewhat under-utilized.

Iggy Two
Iggy is a few weeks shy of 69. He looks like a vintage alligator FMP. The years add a patina of class. That bum hip makes him look like he busted a heel as he twists, jabs and uppercuts around the stage. The man could collect Social Security. He could pull a disability check. He could qualify for THE RIDE. Instead, he surfs the crowd and tears through a shades of Bowie homage heavy on tunes from Lust for Life, The Idiot and his new - name that croon - Post Pop Depression.

Iggy is no generic journeyman with a handful of decent tunes. He’s like Little Richard. He’s like Lux. He’s like Bowie. He’s like John Lydon - he’s ground out an unmistakeable mark that can’t be copied. Gotta love a show that starts with "Lust for Life" and whizzes through "Sixteen", "Some Weird Sin", "Nightclubbing" and "The Passenger". Iggy shreds the “white of my eyes” line in "China Girl". With Bowie, the line was manifest destiny with Iggy it’s a siege. The band hit the turbo and chicken choke the extended coda.


Iggy doesn’t rest on his laurels. He plays most the new Post Pop Depression (Post Bowie Depression might be more like it). Bowie’s departure has given a lot of greying r&r kids reason to think about legacy and mortality. Why not Iggy? The new album is slow grow and it sounds best loud. The tunes benefit from the added buzz of playing them live.

Iggy carries Post Pop Depression’s weight and nostalgia with swagger and a general lack of bathos. "Sunday", with its pithy guitar riff, is catchy out of the box. On disk, it ends with a touch of Glass coda in ¾. The bass riff on "American Valhalla" is killer. You can feel Iggy looking over his shoulder on the vaguely paranoid "In the Lobby". "Gardinia"’s lilting melody belies the stories tough life end. Post Pop Depression doesn’t bother Lust or Idiot for singles but the expansive groove nods back to those albums and the arrangements aren’t unfamiliar in tone to those efforts and to the Eno/ Visconti/Bowie work on the Berlin trio or the more recent "The Next Day".

Ok, the Post Pop Depression disk and concert won’t change your life. But, both show off the strengths of the lion in winter.


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